Fox became the first broadcast network to announce its fall schedule for the 2020-2021 season on Monday amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the more interesting additions to Fox’s fall lineup is “LA’s Finest.” The police drama, a spinoff of the “Bad Boys” film franchise, stars Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba and aired its first season as a Spectrum original last year, with Season 2 set to debut on Spectrum’s VOD service in June.
Fox will run the 13-episode Season 1 of “LA’s Finest” this fall on Mondays at 8 p.m., and the network has also acquired the broadcast rights to the Sony Pictures TV series’ second season. This means Fox will have an acquired show leading off its primetime schedule this fall, an indication of how the network is grappling with the ongoing pandemic-related television production shutdown. Fox previously aired acquired shows like “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” from Showtime and “Dream On” from HBO in primetime early in the network’s history.
The acquisition also marks a return to broadcast television of sorts for “LA’s Finest,” which started out as a pilot at NBC during the 2018-2019 pilot season. NBC ultimately passed on ordering it to series, which is when it was successfully sold to Spectrum to become the cable provider’s flagship original series.
Fox also announced that it will air “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. The third installment overall of the “Cosmos” franchise and the second hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson was originally meant to air on Fox in March 2019, but that premiere date was pushed as Tyson was under investigation for sexual misconduct at the time. “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” already ran this spring on National Geographic.
In terms of pick ups from its pilot crop, Fox announced that the multi-cam comedy “Call Me Kat” has been ordered to series and will bow at midseason. The show is based on the BBC original “Miranda” created by Miranda Hart and received a series commitment at Fox back in September. Mayim Bialik stars and also executive produces along with fellow “Big Bang Theory” alum Jim Parsons.
Fox previously gave series orders to the animated comedies “The Great North” and “Housebroken,” both of which are also slated to debut at midseason. “The Great North” was ordered to series last May while “Housebroken” was ordered to series in December. At this time, they are the only new shows Fox has ordered from its own development slate for next season, though the network says more pick ups could be coming in the near future.
The low number of pick ups mirrors an earlier move by CBS, which last week announced three series orders for next season. Fox had originally ordered seven pilots this development season, but virtually no pilot at any of the broadcasters was able to finish filming before production was shut down, forcing the networks to make decisions without completed episodes to judge.
“The Great North” is one of three Fox shows that was originally meant to debut during the 2019-2020 season now being moved to 2020-2021. The network is also moving the dramas “Filthy Rich” and “neXt,” both of which were to debut at midseason this year, to the fall.
“Filthy Rich” hails from Tate Taylor. In the series, the patriarch (Gerald McRaney) of a mega-rich Southern family, famed for creating a wildly successful Christian television network, dies in a plane crash, his wife (Kim Cattrall) and family are stunned to learn that he fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will, threatening their family name and fortune. It will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. after “Cosmos.”
In “neXt,” John Slattery stars as a Silicon Valley pioneer who discovers that one of his own creations – a powerful A.I. – might cause a global catastrophe. It will air Mondays at 9 p.m. after “LA’s Finest.”
“The effects of this global health crisis leave no business unaffected,” said Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment. “As a media company that prides itself on an entrepreneurial spirit and the focus that comes with doing fewer things better, we mobilized, swiftly creating an entirely new, original-programming lineup for the fall to share with our partners this upfront. In remote meetings with advertising and marketing partners over recent weeks, we sought to listen first and understand each partner’s unique concerns. Our primary goal is to help them back to business, so in turn, the message we’ve shared is one of relative stability on Fox, combining the best of primetime sports and entertainment with which to help our partners and their customers back to market.”
Also for the fall, Fox will be bringing back the unscripted hit “The Masked Singer” as well as “MasterChef Junior” on Wednesdays. On the scripted side, Fox will air the animated comedies “The Simpsons,” “Bless the Harts,” and “Family Guy” as part of its “Animation Domination” block on Sundays. Friday nights remain the home of WWE’s “SmackDown Live,” while Fox’s fall Thursdays are reserved for NFL football.
“9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” will both air at midseason, as will “Duncanville” Season 2 and “Hell’s Kitchen.”
“Now, more than ever, consistency, results and stability take on an all new emphasis,” said Marianne Gambelli, president of Fox Ad Sales. “Fox is primed and ready for the fall with a great deal of stability across our entire programming lineup, featuring premium content that continually resonates with viewers, and the necessary scale that builds demand and produces results. During these uncertain times, we remain focused on the individual business needs of our partners and will continue to work with them to develop custom solutions with our unmatched offerings of assets to help drive their businesses forward.”
In terms of renewals and cancellations, there are several Fox shows still awaiting word on their fates. Those are: “Last Man Standing,” “Prodigal Son,” “Outmatched,” and “The Resident.” Dramas “Almost Family” and “Deputy” were both previously canceled, while “Empire” came to an end this season.
Read the full fall 2020-2021 schedule below.
FOX FALL 2020 SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM L.A.’S FINEST (network television debut)
9:00-10:00 PM NEXT (new series)
8:00-9:00 PM COSMOS: POSSIBLE WORLDS (network television debut)
9:00-10:00 PM FILTHY RICH (new series)
8:00-9:00 PM THE MASKED SINGER (new season)
9:00-10:00 PM MASTERCHEF JUNIOR (new season)
7:30-8:00 PM ET/ FOX NFL THURSDAY
4:30-5:00 PM PT
8:00-8:19 PM ET/ GMC KICKOFF SHOW
5:00-5:19 PM PT
8:20 PM-CC ET/ THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
5:20 PM-CC PT
8:00-10:00 PM WWE’S FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN
7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY
7:00-7:30 PM NFL ON FOX
7:30-8:00 PM THE OT / FOX ENCORES
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (new season)
8:30-9:00 PM BLESS THE HARTS (new season)
9:00-9:30 PM BOB’S BURGERS (new season)
9:30-10:00 PM FAMILY GUY (new season)