Fox for fall: A (mostly) coronavirus-proof schedule with holdovers, borrowed shows, reality TV

Gary Levin
USA TODAY
Host Nick Cannon and the "Rhino" on Fox's "The Masked Singer," which Fox is hoping to produce in time for September's schedule.

Looking forward to new seasons of "The Resident," "Prodigal Son" and "9-1-1"?

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.

Fernanda Andrade, left, and John Slattery star in "Next," a drama Fox has delayed to fall to help guarantee a supply of new programming for the start of the 2020-21 TV season.

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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. 

Rob Lowe in "9-1-1: Lone Star," one of several returning Fox series whose returns will be delayed by production shutdowns.

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.

From left: Aaron Lazar, Deneen Tyler, Mark L. Young, Melia Kreiling, Benjamin Aquilar, Gerald McRaney, Kim Cattrall, Aubrey Dollar,  Corey Cott, Olivia Macklin and Steve Harris in Fox soap 'Filthy Rich.'

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.