With pilot screenings finally over, net execs hit the scheduling boards on Wednesday – and some potential lineup scenarios were already starting to emerge.
Both Fox and NBC are expected to have their skeds locked by Friday – and while NBC’s pieces were mostly easy to figure out, Fox may have a few surprises in the works.
Some have speculated that Fox may be looking for an “American Idol” style reality presence in the fall. After all, athough its fall fortunes have improved in recent years – thanks to a reduced baseball playoff schedule – Fox doesn’t hit the ratings bonanza in January, thanks to “Idol.”
One possibility: A quick hop from season five to season six of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Speculation that “Dance” could wind up in-season next year came from this week’s announcement that the show is already casting for season six – even though season five doesn’t debut until later this month. (In comparison, the season five casting calls began this January.) But still, doing two “Dance” editions so close together seems like a long shot.
Another possibility for a fall splash is “The Fatchelor,” the new supersized dating series from “Bachelor” king Mike Fleiss. (“Fatchelor” is currently set for summer.)
Net is said to also be looking at potentially extending one of its summer franchises like “Fatchelor” or “Hell’s Kitchen” into September, in order to keep the flow going until October, when the baseball disruptions begin. That would help the net avoid another fall conundrum: Launching shows in September, only to see some of them pre-empted as the World Series draws close.
Otherwise, stability appears to be the buzzword at Fox. The net enters the fall with a few more pieces to play with than normal, given the early pickups for “Glee” (which seems like a natural to warm one of “Idol’s” two slots) and “Cleveland” (8:30 p.m. Sunday, done). Net also has newcomers “Sons of Tucson” and “Human Target” now in the mix, as well as sophomore returnees “Fringe” and “Lie to Me.” (And “Dollhouse” is said to still be in play too.)
Then there are the veteran shows, such as “House” and “Bones,” not to mention the perennial January return of “24.”
“Bones” has given Fox its strongest scripted performance there in years, and is a lock to return on the night. “House” could probably stay on Monday, and once again be used at 8 p.m. to help launch a new show or solidify a returning one (“Fringe”?).
Throw in the Saturday and Sunday staples, and Fox also has enough pieces to hold a chunk back for midseason.
Given that both “Fringe” and “Lie to Me” haven’t yet been tested on their own, the net will likely still want to protect both shows – and not have to bring them back at the same time. Since “Lie to Me” was given just a 13 episode order, it’s likely “Lie” will sit on the bench until midseason.
As for Friday, where the net has long struggled, the net is said to be mulling another stab at scripted fare there.
Over at NBC, Peacock execs were still mulling whether to split the two-hour “Biggest Loser” into two nights – with some wondering if it might be tough to add enough dramatic elements to the end of both hours. Execs are also looking to find a good home for “Parenthood.”
Then there’s the fate of “My Name is Earl,” which was looking grim on Wednesday. But no one’s sure if that means the Peacock has opted to move on – or if it’s still playing hardball and looking for an eleventh-hour license cut.
And of course, Peacock is still mum on “Chuck,” “Medium” and “Law & Order,” although no one would be surprised to see all three return. “Chuck” is already appearing on schedules being floated, while “L&O” has always been expected to return in midseason for a shortened order.