Fox to Pair 'Empire' with 'Star' on Wednesdays This Fall

by Marc Berman  |  05.15.2017

Similar to last fall’s surprisingly conservative primetime line-up, Fox will introduce just three new series this fall (and six overall in 2017-18). The starters are Marvel action/adventure The Gifted (Monday at 9 p.m. out of relocated Lucifer), dramedy The Orville (Thursday at 9 p.m. out of relocated Gotham), and sitcom Ghosted, which will be sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy on Sunday. The midseason entries are dramas 9-1-1 and The Resident, and comedy LA to Vegas.

Hoping to build some tentpoles, Fox will utilize dramas Empire and sophomore Lethal Weapon to support returning drama Star and sitcoms The Mick and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, respectively. Lethal Weapon will move into the Tuesday 8 p.m. hour, leading into the two comedies. And Lee Daniels’ two dramas — Empire and Star -- will air back to back on Wednesday nights for what Fox hopes is a seamless night of musical-themed dramatic storytelling.

Fox, additionally, has ordered a seventh – and final – season of comedy New Girl, which will finish its run in midseason. The X-Files will also return, with 10 new episodes in an unconfirmed time period. And the network has not ruled out additional seasons of revivals 24: Legacy or Prison Break, and well as Bones (which recently finished a 12-season run). Fox had also considered reviving American Idol, which will be relaunched on ABC this midseason.

The Spin

“This past season, we launched five of the top 15 new series — more than any other network — and next season, we’re using our strongest series to launch new shows and grow returning series,” said Gary Newman and Dana Walden, co-chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. “We’re strategically pairing shows that have greater compatibility to increase audience flow and create higher duplication on each night. We endeavored to develop a mix of provocative, compelling dramas; broad, funny comedies; and exciting, live events from the best creators in the business - and we’re excited about these new shows.”

The Reality

Since no network can rebound overnight, two immediate steps in the potential right direction for Fox are: a) using Lethal Weapon to anchor Tuesday, and b) pairing the perfectly compatible Star with Empire on Wednesday. The foundation of any network schedule is always established product, and both nights now offer new opportunities next season. But Fox will not have the Super Bowl at its disposal next season to mask the schedule’s inherent overall weaknesses, and just three new series on the line-up this fall is just not aggressive enough for a network mired with weak returnees.

While Fox can be given a pass for pretending that its returning Friday combination of Hell’s Kitchen and drama The Exorcist will warrant some interest — the deteriorating levels of households using television (HUTS) on that night is a challenge for any outlet — the network at some point needs to face its fading animation block on Sunday.

Shifting Gotham into the Thursday anchor position also feels like like nothing more than shifting the low-rated deck chairs. And touting the launch of five of last season’s top-15 new series is not all that impressive given the lack of new hits on any network’s schedule in 2016-17.

What follows is Fox’s programming line-up this fall (with new shows in caps), followed by the new series descriptions:


8:00 p.m. Lucifer (new time)

9:00 p.m. THE GIFTED


8:00 p.m. Lethal Weapon (new day)

9:00 p.m. The Mick (new time)

9:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nine-Nine


8:00 p.m. Empire (new time)

9:00 p.m. Star


8:00 p.m. Gotham (new day)

9:00 p.m. THE ORVILLE


8:00 p.m. Hell’s Kitchen

9:00 p.m. The Exorcist


8:00 p.m. Fox Sports Saturday: College Football


7:00 p.m. NFL on Fox

7:30 p.m. The OT / Bob’s Burgers

8:00 p.m. The Simpsons

8:30 p.m. GHOSTED

9:00 p.m. Family Guy

9:30 p.m. The Last Man on Earth

New Program Descriptions



THE GIFTED tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers.

Reed (Stephen Moyer, Shots Fired, True Blood) and Caitlin (Amy Acker, Person of Interest) Stucker are typical middle-class parents dealing with the realities of raising a family. However, when their teenage kids, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind, Gotham) and Andy (Percy Hynes White, Night at the Museum 3), are involved in an incident at their high school that reveals they are mutants, Reed and Caitlin do everything in their power to protect their children.

Forced to go on the run, the Struckers must leave behind their old lives to flee from a relentless government agency that tracks down mutants, the Sentinel Services, which includes Agent Jace Turner (Coby Bell, Burn Notice). And complicating matters further is the fact that Reed is a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office tasked with going after mutants.

Production Companies: 20th Century Fox Television, Marvel Television

Writer: Matt Nix (Burn Notice)

Director: Bryan Singer

Executive Producers: Bryan Singer, Matt Nix, Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Jeph Loeb, Jim Chory

9-1-1 (midseason)

From creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, new procedural drama 9-1-1 is a fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders — cops, paramedics, firefighters — who put their lives on the line to save others.

Starring Angela Bassett (American Horror Story), the series is based on the real-life, high-pressure experiences of emergency response providers who are thrust into heart-stopping situations.

Production Companies: 20th Century Fox Television, Ryan Murphy Television, Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision

Creators/Writers/Executive Producers: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk

THE RESIDENT (midseason)

Focusing on three doctors at different stages of their careers and a dedicated young nurse, The Resident is a new medical drama that reveals the truth of what really happens, both good and bad, in hospitals across the country.

Dr. Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife) is one of the best doctors at Chastain Park Memorial Hospital. Charming, arrogant and only a third-year resident, Conrad does everything in the most unconventional way possible. Along with treating patients, Conrad believes it is his job to burst the illusions of first-year residents, like Dr. Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal, Halt and Catch Fire), and before turning them into real-life doctors. With Conrad’s help, however, Devon quickly discovers the reality of his chosen profession is not what he imagined, and that ethical lines are often blurred.

Bruce Greenwood (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and Emily VanCamp, Revenge) also star.

Production Company: 20th Century Fox Television

Executive Producers: Antoine Fuqua, Amy Holden Jones, David Boorstein, Oly Obst

Co-Executive Producers: Hayley Schore, Roshan Sethi

Writers: Amy Holden Jones, Hayley Schore, Roshan Sethi

Director/Executive Producer: Phillip Noyce



From Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book), The Orville is a one-hour science-fiction series (that looks quite a bit like a Star Trek spoof) set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel.

Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace… even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship.

In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships. Down on his luck after a bitter divorce, Planetary Union officer Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) finally gets his chance to command one of these ships: the U.S.S. Orville. Mercer is determined to prove his worth and write a new chapter in his life, but finds that task all the more difficult when the First Officer assigned to his ship is his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

The cast also includes Scott Grimes (ER), Penny Johnson Jerald (24), Peter Macon (Shameless) and Mark Jackson (That Royal Today).

Production Company: 20th Century Fox Television

Creator/Writer: Seth MacFarlane

Executive Producers: Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, Jason Clark, Liz Heldens



Starring Craig Robinson (The Office) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Ghosted is a single-camera, action-comedy about the unlikely partnership between two down-on-their-luck polar opposites tasked with an even more unlikely mission: saving the human race from aliens.

Leroy Wright (Robinson) is a skeptic and former missing-persons detective, who, thinks that the idea of “aliens” is a big ole bunch of B.S. and that people who believe in them are certifiably nuts…people like Max Jennifer (Scott). Max is a genius “true believer” in the paranormal who’s convinced his wife was abducted by aliens.

At low points in their lives, both Leroy and Max are recruited by Captain Ava Lafrey (Ally Walker, Colony) a take-no-prisoners, former Air Force test pilot and head of the Bureau Underground, a secret government organization investigating paranormal cases for answers.

Production Company: 20th Century Fox Television

Executive Producers: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott, Oly Obst, Mark Schulman

Writers: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten

Director/Executive Producer: Jonathan Krisel

LA TO VEGAS (midseason)

From executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay (The Big Short), Lon Zimmet (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Steve Levitan (Modern Family), La to Vegas is a single-camera ensemble comedy about an airline crew and the eccentric passengers who, every weekend, take the roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with one goal in mind — to come back a winner.

Jackpot Airlines is a low-budget carrier whose junket flight from LA to Vegas and back again is filled with dreamers looking for that big score. Holding these voyages together is Ronnie (Kim Matula, UnREAL), a long-suffering flight attendant who tries to keep her cool whether she’s dealing with a bi-polar bride-to-be or the dead body in Row 13.

Managing the revolving door of bachelor parties and 21st birthdays gets even trickier when Ronnie develops a “location-ship” with Colin (Ed Weeks, The Mindy Project), a regular passenger and an economics professor, whose son and soon-to-be ex-wife live in Vegas. Further complicating her job every weekend is Captain Dave (Dylan McDermott, The Practice), the narcissistic pilot whose fighter-pilot dreams never quite worked out; Bernard (Nathan Lee Graham, The Comeback), the always-positive career flight attendant who thinks there’s no flight more magical than the LA-to-Vegas; Artem (Peter Stormare, The Big Lebowski), the genial professional gambler who serves as the plane’s resident (but unofficial) bookie; and Nichole (Olivia Macklin, The Young Pope), the sweet-natured, part-time stripper who’s a lot savvier than people realize.

Production Companies: 20th Century Fox Television, Gary Sanchez Productions

Writer/Executive producer: Lon Zimmet

Director/Executive Producer: Steve Levitan

[Cube image of The Gifted courtesy of Fox. Credit/Frank Ockenfels]

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