Early Upfront Thoughts – FOX:

FOX is in an interesting position. None of their new dramas this year really worked and the only one I can see returning is Touch but it’s not like that is a breakout hit. Airing after American Idol hasnt garnered it more than a 2.1 in its last airing, and judging by its half hours, one would assume it would be under a 2.0 without that cushion. The only returning drama returning that is considered a hit is Bones.

The other issue is X Factor was hardly a huge hit last fall, (though it was a hit). Did it vastly improve what normally aired there in the fall? Absolutely, But it hardly qualifies as a critical success and I think its impact might be even less come fall due to the non stop music competition shows. Think about it: What will seem fresh in the fall – all the hit scripted shows returning from a 4 months hiatus (along with some buzzworthy new ones) or another incarnation of a singing competition that had yet to leave the airwaves in some form or another on various networks.

But here’s the thing: FOX is in the enviable position of having to only program 8-10p (and yet still be judged on the same playing field as the big 3 who have to program 7 extra hours each week for their weekly average) and they require much less product. Hence airing IDOL 3 hours a week this spring has kept them in 1st place while not really knocking it out of the park any of the other nights of the week. They also launched a new hit sitcom, New Girl, which will likely get a 2nd year bounce and enable them to build a new night of comedy around it. So while Idol is currently masking many issues, it’s not inconceivable for them to still have a very good fall, especially if they launch a new hit drama and/or comedy.

Mondays will most likely lead off with Bones. 7-year-old Bones is getting a 2.0 at ratings depressed 8p this spring against formidable competition – Hit comedies on CBS and  music/dance competition shows on ABC and NBC. It was only off .2 from 3-year-old Glee last week. Bones has definitely turned into a stronger asset than I would have guessed. Would not have assumed it would be beating House. I will assume FOX will put their most important new drama Mondays at 9p. It’s possible that will be the Kevin Bacon drama Mastermind. But since that series is capping at 15 eps, its possible they will wait to premiere it in February and run straight through May. Though if it does appear to be their strongest drama, they could easily get 15 eps to stretch thru Feb sweeps. – 9 in the fall and in mid Jan it would return for 6 straight eps thru the end of Feb sweeps. It would also appear to benefit FOX airing in the fall as they have the NFL on Sunday to promote a next day airing.

FOX Tuesday will likely go all younger skewing single camera comedy to take advantage of New Girl at 9 and the hot comedy trend. Raising Hope while a critical success, is still struggling ratings wise. IF FOX comedy development is really strong, I would not be shocked to see FOX schedule 3 new comedies around New Girl. One might assume the Mindy Kaling project will air at 9:30. Another of  their more promising sounding comedies is Goodwin Games from HIMYM creators and starring the should have been a mega star by now, Becki Newton. I could see that leading off 8p possibly. Other on the night could be the Steven Levitan produced Rebounding. and Bill Lawrence’s Like Father or El Jefe. Like I said in the CBS post, ABC got 2 of their biggest hits on a night of all new shows 3 years ago. It’s not crazy to think FOX will add 3 new comedies to New Girl on Tue and hold Raising Hope for midseason or to replace an early failure. If Rasing Hope is on in the fall, I would expect it at 8:30, not post New Girl and not leading off at 8p. Could make a great bridge at 8:30. All of FOXs comedies in development are single cam and I would not be shocked to see them stock up on 5 with hopes of premiering more later in the season (assuming they come out well, of course).

Wed will likely be 2 hours of  X Factor. I know they’re adding tons of new bells, whistles and judges to the panel but like I said before, there’s just too many music competitions and this one didn’t distinguish itself enough this past fall, Still if it gets a 3,0 that’s likely better than what FOX would have done with new shows and slightly better than Hells Kitchen would likely do. Plus you never know, anything is possible in TV and maybe they’ll make it a better show that can get close to a 4.0. I’m not betting on it, but stranger things have happened

Half of Thursday will likely be the one hour X Factor results show. What airs before or after is a big question mark. Many people think FOX will move Glee here. Some think they might delay til January  and still air it here. Given how Touch is performing out of a stronger Idol, I do not expect it on Thu in the fall (guessing midseason). So I think FOX will either go new drama or Glee. They might throw tons of their promotional muscle at a new Mon drama, new Tuesday comedy night , relaunch of X Factor and airing Glee here might give them a nice music tandem with X Factor and potentially strengthen each show. They also might be concerned with pitting Glee against TBBT. If they save til January they can run 22 eps uninterrupted with the Idol results show. It’s hard to guess at this point. Thursdays will likely go to CBS, but 2nd place is for the taking. If FOX has a strong new drama they might want to try it here. It could be the Josh Friedman penned The Asset or Greg Berlanti’s Guilty starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

I would imagine if Fringe were ending now, they would have already announced it. so they’ll likely bring it back for a 10-13 week final season and I guess they’ll air it Friday probably with Kitchen Nightmares or another reality show or comedy reruns. (Or do they save it for later in the season or even Summer?)

Saturday is sports now and Sunday will be their animation domination tentpoles with some mix of new and returning shows at 8:30 and 9:30.

I don’t know, the more I think about FOX, the more I think there could be some thing I don’t see coming. (Maybe they leave Glee on Tue after all). Maybe a new Darnell reality show, maybe some big move, or some new show being produced on the down low. I feel like there could be some maneuver or show I won’t be able to predict.

Up Next: ABC

Here’s CBS: https://bigtvfan.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/early-upfront-thoughts-cbs/

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