Upfronts Analysis: Fox 2009-2010 Fall Schedule

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Fox 2009-2010 Fall Schedule

May 18th, 2009

FOX has always performed well in the Spring, but this year they managed to do something they hadn’t in the past: they were smart with their scheduling in the Fall, used House as a lead-in as opposed to a lead-out, and managed to put together two shows (fall debut Fringe and midseason Lie to Me) that were stable enough to earn a spot on their 2009-2010 schedule. They did it with the help of both House and American Idol as lead-ins, of course, but they were intelligent in the way they used those spots, and their Fall Schedule feels more stable as a result.

The question now, of course, is whether they can maintain that momentum, which they will try to do with a highly aggressive schedule that demonstrates that FOX is willing to compete in the Fall…at the risk of running one of its franchises into the ground, throwing one of its new shows out into the wild on its own, and holding its new offerings until midseason.

So even when you think they’ve got the hang of things, FOX has to go and shake things up to prove that, no matter how consistent they may seem at times, they’re always going to pull out a new trick or two.

The full schedule, with my analysis, after the jump – if you’re looking for all the official images and press releases plus plenty of analysis, I suggest you head over to Televisionary where Jace has it all covered.

Okay, analysis will be first, I find it infinitely more interesting than the schedule itself.

Fringe to 9pm Thursdays

In what has officially become the busiest spot on the primetime dial, 9pm Thursdays (should the other networks maintain their current positions) will feature Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, The Office, 30 Rock, Supernatural and now Fringe. FOX has been counterprogramming with Gordon Ramsay reality in the timeslot for a while, now, but those shows are noticeably absent from the schedule, perhaps held back as replacements should shows fall off the radar or when FOX releases its sixth new schedule by the time we get to September, as they are often wont to do.

For Fringe, though, it’s a real test: the show held up against Idol, and continued to pull strong demos against the highly successful The Mentalist, so the show has something approaching traction and is coming off a strong season finale. The question remains, though, as to how many people will abandon CSI or Grey’s for a show that has yet to really prove itself, as well as questions of FOX’s expectations: will they be happy with the show retaining lead-in Bones’ numbers, or are they expecting growth in the demo? Only time will tell.

So You Think You Can Dance? Fall Edition

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are always a struggle for FOX in the fall, so they figured why not try to repeat the formula: after airing its fifth season this summer, So You Think You Can Dance? will return for a sixth edition in the fall. I’m going to discuss in a post later today what this means for beleaguered CTV, who was planning its Canadianized version of the show for the fall, but for FOX this is a risky proposition: by tempting the burn out of a franchise that is quite popular in its current summer slot, they’re posturing as being stronger than before but in reality appearing weaker, asking a lot of a show which has never really been tested in its cushy summer digs.

I like the show a lot, as summer escapist fare, but I really cannot fathom a scenario wherein I choose to watch So You Think You Can Dance? over checking out a new series with potential or a returning series I enjoy: it just isn’t a decision I think I would make, and I have to wonder how many people would do the same. That said, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are pretty wide open in the fall, so the show could surprise me.

Dollhouse, Lie to Me and Glee

Three shows which will be (sort of) returning next year, all doing so in an entirely different way. Glee, which debuts tomorrow night after American Idol before leaving until the Fall, will premiere with So You Think You Can Dance? before taking a hiatus in 2010 to make way for a new show before, eventually, returning behind American Idol in the Spring. Lie to Me, meanwhile, will air its order in the first half of the season behind House before making way for 24 in January.

Dollhouse, however, is oddly in neither position: despite a 13-episode order that seems unlikely to grow into anything but a 13-episode order, the show is on the schedule in both Fall and Winter, leading out of live-action comedies in both examples. Perhaps it’s a sign that FOX is truly giving up on Friday nights, or maybe they have a lot of faith in padding out that second season box set. Regardless, the spot could theoretically open up for one of Ramsay’s unscheduled shows, should it be required.

The New Shows

Only Brothers (and the Cleveland Show and Glee, already announced) have made it into the schedule for the Fall – it’s a half-hour sitcom starring former NFL player Michael Strahan (who appeared on NBC’s Chuck earlier this season), who plays a former NFL player (woulda thunk it?) and doesn’t sound like it has a great deal of potential in such a bottomless timeslot even with the great CCH Pounder involved. FOX is holding everything else until midseason, when they’re in a better position to launch new shows by their estimation.

Past Life grabs the post-Idol slot on Tuesdays, and stars Richard Schiff amongst others as a series of investigators solve mysteries from people’s past lives (which is kind of presumed in the title, but that pretty well covers the premise – spirituality meets crime procedural).

Human Target has the post-Idol slot on Wednesdays, meanwhile, and is a bit more interesting: Mark Valley (late of Fringe), Chi McBride (getting work after Pushing Daisies) and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) star in a series about a freelancer who takes on different identities each week as a bodyguard/private investigator, and is based on a DC Comics series. With that cast, and the premise, I’m on board – sounds like the superhero equivalent of Burn Notice, in a way.

The other new show is Sons of Tucson, a single-camera comedy starring Tyler Labine (Reaper) about a hustler hired to be father to three siblings whose father is in jail (which sounds like it has potential) – it will be slotting into the schedule as the awkward live-action comedy in the midst of the animated block on Sundays, which should prove interesting for the show’s future.

[That’s really it for FOX – we’ll know more once the time periods start lining up with other networks, so check back later in the week.]

Fall 2009 Schedule

MONDAY
8-9 pm: HOUSE
9-10 pm: LIE TO ME

TUESDAY
8-10 pm: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Performance Show

WEDNESDAY
8-9 pm: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE Results Show
9-10 pm: GLEE

THURSDAY
8-9 pm: BONES
9-10 pm: FRINGE

FRIDAY
8-8:30 pm: BROTHERS
8:30-9 pm: ‘TIL DEATH
9-10 pm: DOLLHOUSE

SATURDAY
8-8:30 pm: COPS
8:30-9 pm: COPS
9-10 pm: AMERICA’S MOST WANTED
11-12 am: THE WANDA SYKES SHOW (working title)
12-12:30 am: ANIMATION DOMINATION ENCORES

SUNDAY
7-8:00 pm: THE OT (NFL post-game)
8-8:30 pm: THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9 pm: THE CLEVELAND SHOW
9-9:30 pm: FAMILY GUY
9:30-10 pm: AMERICAN DAD

Winter 2010 Schedule

MONDAY
8-9pm: HOUSE
9-10 pm: 24

TUESDAY
8-9 pm: AMERICAN IDOL Performance Show
9-10 pm: PAST LIFE

WEDNESDAY
8-9 pm: AMERICAN IDOL Results Show
9-10 pm: HUMAN TARGET (January) / GLEE (spring)

THURSDAY
8-9 pm: BONES
9-10 pm: FRINGE

FRIDAY
8-8:30 pm: BROTHERS
8:30-9 pm: ‘TIL DEATH
9-10 pm: DOLLHOUSE

SATURDAY
8-8:30 pm: COPS
8:30-9 pm: COPS
9-10 pm: AMERICA’S MOST WANTED
11-12 am: THE WANDA SYKES SHOW (working title)

SUNDAY
7:30-8 pm: AMERICAN DAD
8-8:30 pm: THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9 pm: SONS OF TUCSON
9-9:30 pm: FAMILY GUY
9:30-10 pm: THE CLEVELAND SHOW

1 Comment

Filed under Upfronts

One response to “Upfronts Analysis: Fox 2009-2010 Fall Schedule

  1. MosesMonster

    I can see FOX trying to get Fringe and Dollhouse canned. And it seems they are combating Chuck with House (is Chuck still on Mondays?)

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