Simply put, FOX is a disaster. The X Factor is gone, forcing FOX to fill a number of hours on its fall schedule. In addition, Bones is finally starting to show its age (and is likely headed into its final season), the Tuesday comedies are extremely weak, and besides Sleepy Hollow, nothing new has been able to succeed. That puts FOX is a tough position for the fall. They will have to make a lot of moves in order to deliver a strong schedule. Too many moves though, and FOX is at risk of even more rating drops. From all of the networks this fall, FOX has the most to prove at its upfront presentation.
8 – Backstrom (new drama)
9 – Sleepy Hollow
Analysis: Perhaps Sleepy Hollow will move to 8 o’clock to give Backstrom a lead in. However, I think FOX would be best keeping Sleepy Hollow where it did well last season and try to program something new at 8. Backstrom and Sleepy Hollow would likely work well together too. If FOX doesn’t want to place Backstrom on the night though, Gotham would be the next best option: it has a built-in name, and would work well with Sleepy Hollow. Still, I like the duo of Backstrom and Sleepy Hollow more so on the night, simply because I think Gotham can do very well elsewhere on the schedule (see below).
8 – Dads
830 – Brooklyn Nine Nine
9 – New Girl
930 – The Mindy Project
Analysis: FOX has so many problems with their schedule that they have to leave one lineup in tact. My guess is that Tuesdays will remain the same, since FOX seems to be standing behind them. Dads still has yet to be renewed, but it did an okay job when leading off the night. Since its departure, FOX has struggled even more on the night. The night will obviously average no higher than a 1.2, but as I said, focus on other nights first.
8 – Bones (new night)
9 – Gotham (new drama)
Analysis: Yes, Bones is weaker this season, but competition on Wednesdays is fairly light. Should it bring its 1.5 demo over, that would give it in a strong second place finish. The much-buzzed about Gotham seems prime to take over Wednesdays. FOX may place the new drama on Mondays, but I think Wednesday is where it has a chance to shine. The lack of big competition, as well as a lead in from reliable Bones will ultimately help Gotham.
8 – Empire (new drama)
9 – Mulaney (new comedy)
930 – Cabot College (new comedy)
Analysis: Another night without The X Factor has to be fixed in a big way. I would suggest Empire lead off the night. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but this drama screams Thursday night to me. I think it could start off on its own and with a younger-skewing premise, it would work well with two new comedies. Given Mulaney and Cabot College are both multi-camera comedies, I would not place them with the Tuesday night comedies (although Dads may be there).
8 – Masterchef Junior
9 – Glee (new night)
Analysis: Masterchef Junior held its own last season on Friday nights. With so many new offerings, I doubt it will be anywhere else on the schedule. Glee is in its final season, and with ratings already at series lows, its best to throw the show to the wolves. No need to waste prime schedule space for a dying series.
7 – NFL on FOX / The OT
8 – The Simpsons
830 – Bob’s Burgers
9 – Family Guy
930 – Bordertown (new animated series)
Analysis: No way Animated Domination leaves the airwaves. FOX will move Bob’s Burgers back to 830, and Family Guy to 9. A still-solid Family Guy should provide Bordertown will ample opportunity to succeed. With American Dad on its way to TBS next season, Bordertown is the only other animated series FOX has waiting to air.
New shows I expect to be picked for midseason: drama Red Band Society, starring Octavia Spencer, and comedy Sober Companion.
Coming tomorrow: ABC