23rd Annual TV Preview – Fox Edition
The FOX fall lineup will include three days of sports while introducing two new comedies and picking up another from ABC.
Fox is looking to shed what it views as dead weight in its entertainment divisions by focusing on the far more profit- able news and sports sides of its business. This happens as Disney completes the $71 billion mega-deal for the 21st Century Fox entertainment assets which includes the movie studio 20th Century Fox, the company’s TV production arm 20th Century Fox Television, FOX-owned cable networks (including FX and National Geographic) and the company’s stakes in international networks like Star TV. The company is keeping control of the FOX broadcast network, FOX Sports, and the Fox News and FOX business brands.
FOX network holds NFL rights to broadcast NFC games, as well as the Super Bowl every third year. FOX and the NFL agreed to a five-year deal for Thursday night football games for $3.3 billion. Those games were previously televised on CBS and NBC. While NFL ratings have slipped, they’re still, by far, the biggest game in town. With FOX emphasizing sports, being the home to most NFL games is the way to go.
Their sports/news focus leads us to wonder how this evolution will impact the network’s future. Without 21st Century Fox the network will lose an aspect of their creativity and production. Will it not be a typical network anymore? The Federal Communications Commission regulations state that no one company can own more than one broadcast network – and Disney already owns ABC. So, for now, FOX will remain FOX, just a different version of itself.
As the dust settles, FOX shareholders will net 25 percent of the new Disney and the Murdoch family trust will own 5 percent of Disney.
Besides news and sports, multi-camera comedies, which FOX abandoned a couple of years ago, seem to be a priority this year. There will be two new fall shows, The Cool Kids and Rel, as well as the Last Man Standing revival. Multi- camera sitcoms represent a more traditional approach to television comedy, with everything filmed in front of a live studio audience.
FOX New Shows
THE COOL KIDS, Friday 8:30-9p, Comedy From executive producer Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) The Cool Kids is a comedy about a rag-tag group of friends living in a retirement community who are willing to break every rule to have fun. COMMENTS: The Cool Kids will follow Last Man Standing (newly acquired from ABC) on Friday nights. Despite this being a potential good pairing on a relaxing Friday night of comedy, The Cool Kids misses the mark. The cast is loaded with comedic veterans who have made households laugh for years, but its just not enough to keep viewers intrigued week to week. The all-star lineup includes David Alan Grier (In Living Color), Martin Mull (Roseanne), Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace) and Vicki Lawrence (Mama’s Family).
REL, Sunday 9:30-10p, Comedy Starring comedian Lil Rel Howery (The Carmichael Show) and co-starring Sinbad as his dad, Rel was inspired by Howery’s life. It centers on Lil Rel, a prideful father who has his upbeat attitude put to the test when he learns his wife is having an affair with his own barber. He tries to rebuild his life post-divorce as a long-distance single father on the East Side of Chicago on a quest for love, respect and a new barber. COMMENTS: The premise of the show is as funny as the zingers Rel’s family, as well as Rel himself, throws at his situation. We can follow this loveable loser as he attempts to move on and find love again. This comedy should gain a following on Sunday nights mixed right into FOX’s other hit comedies and following football.
FOX Mid-Season Replacements
THE PASSAGE Based on the best-selling trilogy, The Passage is an epic character-driven thriller about Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous vampire virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out humanity. At the heart of the show is Amy, a young girl who is chosen to be a test subject and federal agent (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Franklin & Bash) who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.
PROVEN INNOCENT Legal drama set in a wrongful conviction firm led by a fierce female lawyer with a hunger for justice. The team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent. Madeline’s motivation comes from an infamous past. As a young adult, she was found guilty and later exonerated in a high-profile case where she became a tabloid sensation. Hero to some, victim to others; Madeline has enemies, one of which wants to see her go down for the crime she didn’t commit – the murder of her best friend.