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‘Lucifer’ Canceled, ‘The X-Files’ Won’t Be Back, But More ‘Prison Break’ and ’24’ Reboots in the Works: Fox Execs Explain All

Fox unveils 2018-2019 schedule, featuring two new comedies, two new dramas, the return of "Last Man Standing" and Thursday Night Football. Execs also explain "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" cancellation and comedy shift.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Lucifer,” “The X-Files”


“The X-Files” have been closed again — at least for now. Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn confirmed on Monday that there are no plans to do another season at the moment.

The news doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as star Gillian Anderson has previously said she was saying farewell to the show. On the “Prison Break” front, Fox is moving forward on another revival, although that is still “in the early stages of development. We’re focusing on getting the next iteration right.” There’s no immediate announcement. Ditto “24,” as executive producer Howard Gordon is developing new ideas, including one with original creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran.

As for the decision to cancel “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden said the decision was “based on a variety of factors,” including the fact that the addition of Thursday Night Football limited their shelf space, “and we didn’t have the right place to schedule it this year. It performed best on Sunday, and we wanted to give ‘Bob’s Burgers’ an opportunity to have a plum time period and opportunity to grow.”

Walden said “we’re happy its found a new home. We assumed it would,” given other conversations she knew the series producer Universal TV was having with other platforms, including its NBC sibling.

In cancelling “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Last Man on Earth” and “The Mick,” and bringing on new multi-cam sitcoms, it appeared that Fox had made a tonal shift in primetime. But Newman said it was more about strategy: In airing comedies on Friday, with Thursday Night Football as a marketing platform the night before, the decision was to focus more on stand-alone, accessible half hours.

“We were emboldened by the response we saw by ‘Roseanne’ [on ABC] and saw opportunity,” he said. Added Walden: “It didn’t seem like a strategic move to have highly serialized comedy there. [‘Last Man Standing’ and ‘The Cool Kids’ have a much easier entry point.”

As for the cancellation of “Lucifer” and “The Exorcist,” Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman said “there was a high bar on our network this year. We felt performance wise we needed to make that change.”

Bubble shows “Ghosted” and “LA to Vegas” remain up in the air as Fox mulls the future of those shows. On the fall bench is “The Orville,” but Fox said the show’s second season remains a priority, and it will return in midseason.

Asked about the cast change on “Lethal Weapon,” with Seann William Scott stepping in for fired star Clayne Crawford, Walden confirmed that “this was not our choice. Ultimately our partners at Warner Bros. came to us about three weeks ago to tell us they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before, that there were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it, but these were the circumstances… we thought about it a lot and talked about a lot of different names and ultimately when they came back with Seann… we ultimately made the right choice.”

The execs said Fox is prepared to support the show from a marketing perspective to “educate” fans about the change.

“90 percent of that cast is coming back, and we have tremendous strength in that cast,” Newman said. “The Murtaugh family [led by Damon Wayans’ character] is a focal point for the show and is one of the appeals of ‘Lethal Weapon.’ We will certainly make sure we let the audience know there’s something new.”

Newman pointed to past examples of surprise cast changes, including Season 2 of “NYPD Blue,” in making this change work.

Thorn pointed out that Fox will boast 40 percent of the NFL audience by adding Thursday Night Football to its lineup, “giving Fox its most circulation in years.”

“[Football will help] heavily promote across the week and build audience flow,” he said. “We anticipate our fall rating to grow by double digits.”

Fox will create a new Friday comedy block, starting with the addition of “Last Man Standing,” which had also aired on Fridays back when it was an ABC show. The Tim Allen sitcom will be paired with “The Cool Kids,” a multi-camera sitcom about friends in a retirement community — starring David Alan Grier (“The Carmichael Show,” “In Living Color”), Martin Mull (“Veep,” “Roseanne”), Leslie Jordan (“Will and Grace,” “American Horror Story”) and Vicki Lawrence (“Mama’s Family,” “The Carol Burnett Show”). Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) is among the executive producers.

Additionally in the fall, new comedy “Rel” will join the Sunday night lineup of mostly animated staples. Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out,” “The Carmichael Show”) stars in a show based on his life, which also stars Sinbad, Jess “Hilarious” Moore, and Jordan L. Jones.

New hit “9-1-1” moves to Mondays, paired with “The Resident.” According to Thorn, Fox brought back two thirds of its new series from last season, which he said was the network’s best track record in 20 years.

Fox also announced a date for its previously announced live version of “Rent”: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019 at 7 p.m. ET. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

Here’s Fox’s lineup for fall 2018:
8 p.m. “The Resident” / “The Orville” (midseason)
9 p.m. “9-1-1”

8 p.m. “The Gifted”
9 p.m. “Lethal Weapon”

8 p.m. “Empire”
9 p.m. “Star”

7:30 p.m. Thursday Night Football Pre-Game Show
8 p.m. NFL Thursday Night Football

8 p.m. “Last Man Standing” (new to Fox)
8:30 p.m. “The Cool Kids” (new comedy)
9 p.m. “Hell’s Kitchen”

7 p.m. Fox Sports Saturday: Fox College Football

7 p.m. NFL on Fox
7:30 p.m. “The OT”/ repeats
8 p.m. “The Simpsons”
8:30 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers”
9 p.m. “Family Guy”
9:30 p.m. “Rel” (new comedy)

“Gotham,” “The Orville,” “The Passage” (new drama), “Proven Innocent” (new drama), “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” (new event series), “Beat Shazam,” “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell & Back” (new reality), “Love Connection,” “Masterchef,” “Masterchef Junior,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Here’s a description of the shows:

New Comedies

“The Cool Kids”
From executive producer Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and starring Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier (“The Carmichael Show,” “In Living Color”), Emmy Award nominee Martin Mull (“Veep”, “Roseanne”), Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (“Will and Grace,” “American Horror Story”) and Emmy Award winner Vicki Lawrence (“Mama’s Family,” “The Carol Burnett Show”), THE COOL KIDS is a multi-camera comedy about a rag-tag group of friends living in a retirement community who are willing to break every rule in order to have fun – because, at their age, what do they really have to lose. HANK (Grier) is the leader of this motley crew, a gruff, opinionated, 21st century Archie Bunker who will go to any lengths to have a good time. His loyal, but less than helpful, friends include CHARLIE (Mull), a bumbling storyteller who constantly goes off on tangents about some bizarre, barely believable episode from his life; and SID (Jordan), a naysaying, pill-popping hypochondriac who shoots down every scheme, but still gets roped in. Complicating matters is MARGARET (Lawrence), a brash, confident woman who forces her way into their group and refuses to leave because she’s not going to take crap from anyone – especially not these three. But what unites them all is their shared belief that they’re not done yet – not by a long shot. Growing old with dignity is for chumps. Our self-proclaimed “cool kids” are determined to make the third act of the lives the craziest one yet.

“Last Man Standing”
Multi-cam comedy LAST MAN STANDING, starring Tim Allen, comes to FOX. A fan-favorite for six seasons, LAST MAN STANDING stars Allen as MIKE BAXTER, a married father of three girls, who tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, the series also stars Nancy Travis, Jonathan Adams, Amanda Fuller, Christoph Sanders and Jordan Masterson. “Last Man Standing” averaged 8.3 million viewers in Live + 7 ratings for the 2016-2017 season on ABC. It was the network’s second most-watched comedy, after “Modern Family.” Among the key Adults 18-49 demographic, the series averaged a 1.7/7. The series ranked as the No. 1 new program across all syndication when it debuted off-net during the 2016-2017 season.

Based on the life of Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out,” “Insecure,” “The Carmichael Show”), REL is a multi-camera comedy starring Howery as a loving husband and father living on the West Side of Chicago, who finds out his wife is having an affair. And not just any affair. An affair with Rel’s own barber. Quite easily the worst person for your wife to sleep with, because as hard it is to find a good spouse, it’s even harder to find a reliable barber. Plus, with the barbershop being one of the epicenters of neighborhood gossip, Rel finds his embarrassing business is known by everyone, including the Pastor (also played by Howery), before Rel can even process the emotions himself. Offering Rel support – that is, when they themselves aren’t butting heads – are Rel’s tough-talking, no-B.S. best friend, BRITTANY (Jess “Hilarious” Moore, “Wild ’N Out”), and his recently out-of-jail younger brother, NAT (Jordan L. Jones, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Wisdom of the Crowd”), as well as Rel’s prideful DAD (Sinbad, “A Different World,” “The Sinbad Show,” “Jingle All The Way”), who perhaps has taken the barber news even harder than Rel. After his beloved kids move to Cleveland with their mom, Rel must begin the difficult task of rebuilding his life as a long-distance dad. He also jumps back into the dating pool – and often finds himself the victim of his own well-intentioned hubris. But, ever the optimist, he continues his search for love, respect…and a new barber.

New Dramas
“The Passage”
Based on author Justin Cronin’s best-selling trilogy of the same name, THE PASSAGE is an epic, character-driven thriller written by Liz Heldens (“Friday Night Lights”). Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Ridley Scott (“The Martian,” “Gladiator”) and writer/director Matt Reeves (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”), THE PASSAGE focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, AMY BELLAFONTE (Saniyya Sidney, “Fences,” “Hidden Figures”) is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent BRAD WOLGAST (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, “Pitch”) is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project Noah. Ultimately, however, Wolgast becomes her surrogate father, as he tries to protect her at any cost. Brad and Amy’s journey will force them to confront Project Noah’s lead scientist, MAJOR NICHOLE SYKES (Caroline Chikezie, “The Shannara Chronicles”), and the hardened ex-CIA operative in charge of operations, CLARK RICHARDS (Vincent Piazza, “Boardwalk Empire,” “Rescue Me”), whom Brad trained. It likewise brings them face-to-face with a dangerous new race of beings confined within the walls of Project Noah, including former scientist TIM FANNING (Jamie McShane, “Bosch,” “Bloodline,” “Sons of Anarchy”) and death-row inmate SHAUNA BABCOCK (Brianne Howey, “The Exorcist”). In seeking out any allies he can find, Brad also turns to his former wife, DR. LILA KYLE (Emmanuelle Chriqui, “Entourage,” “Murder in the First”), for help. But as Project Noah’s scientists hone in on a cure that could save humanity, these new beings begin to test their own powers, inching one step closer to an escape that could lead to an unimaginable apocalypse.

“Proven Innocent”
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Danny Strong (EMPIRE) partners with David Elliot (“Four Brothers”) to tell the emotional story of one woman’s fight for the innocence of others, as well as her own. PROVEN INNOCENT follows an underdog criminal defense firm led by MADELINE SCOTT (Rachelle Lefevre, “Under the Dome,” “A Gifted Man”), a fierce and uncompromising lawyer with a hunger for justice. There is no one who understands the power of setting an innocent person free more than Madeline. At age 18, she was wrongfully convicted, along with her brother, LEVI (Riley Smith, “Frequency”), in a sensational murder case that made her an infamous media obsession, a household name and a national cause célèbre. Madeline runs the firm with her partner, EASY BOUDREAU (Russell Hornsby, “Seven Seconds,” “Grimm”), the very lawyer who helped set her free after seven years in prison. Their team also includes investigator BODIE QUICK (Vincent Kartheiser, “Mad Men”) and communications director VIOLET BELL (Tony Award winner Nikki M. James, “BrainDead,” “The Good Wife,” “The Book of Mormon”), who runs a true-crime podcast that follows each investigation. While a hero and a victim to some, Madeline’s bold and bullish tactics earn her a number of enemies – especially GORE BELLOWS (Brian d’Arcy James, “13 Reasons Why,” “Spotlight”), the prosecutor who initially put her away and still believes in her guilt. Despite Bellows’ ceaseless quest to see her behind bars again, Madeline will continue to defend others, even as she fights to maintain her innocence and searches for the real killer in her own case.

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