There’s plenty a change coming to Fox at midseason, with the network on Tuesday unveiling its winter schedule and premiere dates, including the final-season launch of “American Idol,” the debut of a pair of new dramas and the launches of four new half-hours as part of drastically altered Sunday and Tuesday comedy lineups. It also announced that “Empire” won’t kick off the second half of its season until late March.
Fox’s midseason slate kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 3 when new ensemble comedy “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life” and new animated satire “Bordertown” join the lineup. “Cooper Barrett” will air at 8:30 p.m. following “The Simpsons,” and “Bordertown” will play at 9:30 p.m. after “Family Guy.” The lineup will bow following Fox Sports’ coverage of the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and “Bob’s Burgers” will be back at 7:30 p.m. starting Jan. 10.
Tuesday’s makeover begins Jan. 5 when “New Girl” opens its season in a new 8 p.m. timeslot. It will be followed by “Grandfathered” at 8:30, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” at a new night at time at 9, and “The Grinder” at 9:30. The network surprised many when it ordered full seasons of the modestly rated “Grandfathered” and “The Grinder,” but each will now get a chance to expand their audience by airing behind an established comedy. The entire comedy block should also benefit from the absence of NBC’s “The Voice” from the night during the first part of the year.
The comedy changes on Sunday and Tuesday leave “The Last Man on Earth” on the bench for the first part of the year. Fox said it would return at a later date.
“American Idol” begins its farewell season with a two-night, four-hour event on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and Thursday, Jan. 7. New drama “Second Chance” (formerly “Frankenstein Code” and “Lookinglass”) will air Wednesday at 9 after “Idol” starting Jan. 13, and the music competition series will continue to air two-hour installments on Thursday.
“Hell’s Kitchen” makes its season premiere on Friday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m., where it will follow “MasterChef Junior,” which returned to good ratings last week. After “MasterChef Junior” ends its run on Jan. 29, “Sleepy Hollow” moves into its new Friday-at-8 timeslot starting Feb. 5.
As previously announced, the two-hour special “Superhuman” will air Monday, Jan. 4, and “The X-Files” launches with a two-night event on Sunday, Jan. 24 (following the network’s coverage of football’s NFC Championship game) and Monday, Jan. 25 (in its regular 8 p.m. timeslot). Starting Jan. 25, “X-Files” will be followed by new drama “Lucifer” (pictured). And Feb. 29 will mark the return of “Gotham” at 8.
Fox’s current Wednesday dramas “Rosewood” and “Empire” return to the night on March 2 and March 30, respectively. “Empire,” broadcast television’s top-rated scripted program in adults 18-49, will be off the air for more than three months.
Long-running drama “Bones,” currently airing on Thursdays, will return this spring at a date and time to be announced, Fox said.
KEY FOX WINTER DATES
Sunday, Jan. 3
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (Winter Return)
8:30-9:00 PM COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE (Series Premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY (Winter Return)
9:30-10:00 PM BORDERTOWN (Series Premiere)
Monday, Jan. 4
8:00-10:00 PM SUPERHUMAN (Two-Hour Special)
Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 5
8:00-8:30 PM NEW GIRL (Season Premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM GRANDFATHERED (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (Time Period Premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM THE GRINDER (Time Period Premiere)
Wednesday, Jan. 6:
8:00-10:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part One)
Thursdays, beginning Jan. 7
8:00-10:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part Two)
Friday, Jan. 8
8:00-10:00 PM MASTERCHEF JUNIOR (Winter Return/Special Two-Hour Episode)
Sundays, beginning Jan. 10
7:30-8:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS (Winter Return)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM BORDERTOWN
Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 13
8:00-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM SECOND CHANCE (Series Premiere)
Fridays, beginning Jan. 15
8:00-9:00 PM MASTERCHEF JUNIOR
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN (Season Premiere)
Sunday, Jan. 24
10:00-11:00 PM ET/ THE X-FILES (Season Premiere, Part One)
7:00-8:00 PM PT
Mondays, beginning Jan. 25
8:00-9:00 PM THE X-FILES (Season Premiere, Part Two)
9:00-10:00 PM LUCIFER (Series Premiere)
Sunday, Jan. 31
7:00-10:00 GREASE: LIVE
Fridays, beginning Feb. 5
8:00-9:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (Time Period / Spring Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN
Mondays, beginning Feb. 29
8:00-9:00 PM GOTHAM (Spring Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM LUCIFER
Wednesdays, beginning March 2
8:00-9:00 PM ROSEWOOD (Spring Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM SECOND CHANCE
Wednesdays, beginning March 30
8:00-9:00 PM ROSEWOOD
9:00-10:00 PM EMPIRE (Spring Premiere)