With an urgent need to supply their audience with hits, Fox Entertainment has added a list of contenders to its 2014 fall season, with hopes for surprises making their way to 2015. For viewers younger than 50, Fox’s audience is flat compared with that of last year, which includes the bump they received from the most-watched Super Bowl in history. Not including sports, Fox’s prime-time entertainment lineup viewership has fallen about 17 percent per Nielsen data, and with that Fox has decided to make a number of changes from introducing new shows straight down to reworking old shows.
During the unveiling of their 2014-2015 schedule on Monday, Fox Entertainment highlighted new series such as Gotham, the highly anticipated Batman prequel, and Red Band Society, a comedic drama starring Octavia Spencer, Oscar winner for her role in The Help. However, the biggest news seemed to be what was coming in 2015, not the fall season lineup. Fox will not be cancelling American Idol, but they will be streamlining it, cutting it from two days to one for its 14th season. Still working out the details, Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chairman, stated that there will be fewer hours for the show, and that during the audition phase they will broadcast for two nights, and the show will end up being two hours for only one night after instead of the two nights it runs now.
Fans will also have to come to terms with the fact that Glee will be entering its final season and will run as a midseason show instead of its regular full-season slot. Fox Entertainment is still working with the show’s co-creators to figure out the best route to end the series. In the beginning, they had ordered 22 episodes, and many fans are still hoping this will happen and that the show will return in the 2014 fall line-up, although it is not clear if that will happen.
Overall, it seems that Fox’s main focus is Gotham, which is slated for Mondays at 8 p.m. Starring Ben McKenzie and Jada Pinkett Smith, it seems to be the front runner for the new season line-up and will be followed by Sleepy Hollow at 9 p.m. The New Girl will remain on Tuesday at 9 p.m. followed by The Mindy Project at 9:30 p.m., while the evening will start with the new show Utopia; an unscripted twice-weekly series where 15 individuals will be put to the test to make their own civilization.
Red Bank Society is scheduled for Wednesdays at 9 p.m. following Hell’s Kitchen, which is on at 8 p.m. Red Bank Society is about a group of teenagers in the pediatric ward of a hospital in Los Angeles who eventually bond. Thursday nights will include Bones at 8 p.m. followed by the new show Gracepoint; a 10-episode series surrounding an investigation in a small beach town regarding the murder of a young boy, based on the U.K. series Broadchurch, and starring David Tennant.
Fridays will see Masterchef Junior making its return at 8 p.m. followed by the second half of Utopia at 9 p.m., leaving Fox Sports Saturday and Fox College Football on Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and the Sunday lineup starting 7 p.m. with the NFL on Fox and The OT/Bob’s Burgers at 7:30 p.m. The Simpsons will be returning at 8 p.m. followed by Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 8:30 p.m. and Family Guy at 9 p.m. The new comedy Mulaney is slated for 9:30 p.m. and stars John Mulaney as a stand-up comic looking for his big break as his friends both support him and get in his way.
Fox Entertainment is also planning on premiering Backstrom, a detective series; Bordertown; the animated series by Seth MacFarlane, and Empire; the family drama by Lee Daniels. All three are slated for 2015 and possibly will fill in the gaps that Glee and American Idol will leave open. All in all, the fall 2014 lineup looks promising for Fox Entertainment, however everyone will just have to wait until next season to truly find out.
By Virginia Snowden