Fox for fall: A (mostly) coronavirus-proof schedule with holdovers, borrowed shows, reality TV
Predictably, you'll have to wait. A production shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to forecast exactly when TV shows can go back into production. So Fox, the first broadcast network to announce plans for this fall, is playing it safe.
The network delayed premieres of two series – family soap "Filthy Rich" and sci-fi themed "Next" – planned for this month, and instead will air them this fall. And it's borrowing two more series that already have aired on more limited platforms: National Geographic's "Cosmos: Possible Worlds" and Spectrum Cable's "L.A.'s Finest," starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba.
The network also has a new season of Gordon Ramsay's kid cooking competition, "MasterChef Junior," and is banking on its ability to produce a new season of "The Masked Singer" by late summer. (Reality shows can be produced more quickly than dramas, and with fewer constraints.) It's also counting on the NFL season to begin as scheduled, still an uncertainty despite the league's announced plans last week.
WWE wrestling has been taped since March without audiences, and production of Fox's Sunday animation block, including "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," is unaffected by social-distancing restrictions.
That leaves returning favorites including "9-1-1" – Fox's No. 2 series behind "Masked Singer" – to sit out the fall and hope for a midseason return, along with spinoff "9-1-1: Lone Star" and the not-yet-officially-renewed trio of "Prodigal Son," "The Resident" and Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing," all of which are expected back. Also due in early 2021: New seasons of "Hell's Kitchen" and the animated "Duncanville," along with new comedy "Call Me Kat," starring Mayim Bialik ("The Big Bang Theory").
Among the truly new fall series, "Next" is an artificial-intelligence thriller starring John Slattery ("Mad Men") that explores technology's frightening reach; and "Filthy Rich," a soap starring Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City") as the widow of a Southern televangelist who carries on the family business.
This year's comedy "Outmatched" is unlikely to return, although "The Moodys," a Christmas-themed family comedy starring Denis Leary, is still being considered. Fox declined comment.
Thanks to "9-1-1," "Masked Singer," the hoped-for NFL and WWE, Fox is in good shape, and likely will win the current TV season among its target audience of adults ages 18 to 49 for the first time in eight years.
Fox's fall schedule (all times ET/PT; new shows in bold; new time slots in italics)
Monday: 8, L.A.'s Finest; 9, Next
Tuesday: 8, Cosmos: Possible Worlds; 9, Filthy Rich
Wednesday: 8, The Masked Singer; 9, MasterChef Junior
Thursday: 8 (5 PT), NFL Thursday Night Football
Friday: 8, WWE Friday Night SmackDown
Saturday: 8, Fox Sports Saturday
Sunday: 7, NFL; 7:30, The OT; 8, The Simpsons; 8:30, Bless the Harts; 9, Bob's Burgers; 9:30, Family Guy.