Having ordered a mere handful of new scripted series for the upcoming broadcast season, Fox on Monday morning unveiled a fall schedule that somehow manages to preserve the status quo while offering a preview of how the network may function in the wake of Disney's proposed deal to buy most of Fox's sibling cable networks and production companies.
Setting aside the reclamation project that is Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing," Fox's fall roster appears to sacrifice novelty on the altar of prudence. In what represents the network's most conservative upfront slate in memory, the fall schedule features a pair of new multi-camera comedies and 11 primetime NFL games. And that's it as far as the new stuff is concerned. Anyone looking to sample a new Fox drama series will have to wait until midseason, as the six hours the network has set aside for its long-from programming have been claimed by returning series.
The centerpiece of Fox's fall schedule is "Thursday Night Football," which in shifting from the joint custody of CBS and NBC has done away with low-impact pairings (Jets-Bills, anyone?) in favor of premiere matchups like Packers-Seahawks and Saints-Cowboys. Not only will the addition of 11 NFL broadcasts boost Fox's ad sales revenue, but football promises to be a far bigger draw than the four shows that aired on fall Thursdays in 2017. (Per Nielsen, "Gotham" and "The Orville" last fall eked out a 1.0 live-same-day rating among the adults 18-to-49 demo.)