West Philadelphia’s Lee Daniels will own Fox’s Wednesday nights this fall.
In a conference call with reporters Monday morning in advance of the network’s 2017-18 schedule presentation to advertisers in New York, executives confirmed that Daniels’ music-fueled hit Empire would be paired with Star, the girl-group drama he created with Drexel Hill’s Tom Donaghy, with both shows this time ordered for 18-episode seasons, and Empire moving to 8 p.m., as it did for Star’s premiere this season.
Expect the usual break between the two seasons, because, as Fox Television Group co-CEO Gary Newman said, both shows, which feature music-and-dance numbers in every episode, are “really challenging to produce.”
Ardmore’s Benj Pasek, along with songwriting partner Justin Paul, also will be bringing music to Fox in December with the previously announced three-hour, live adaptation of A Christmas Story: The Musical, which the pair scored for Broadway and for which they’ll write several new songs.
In other news:
- The X-Files will return at midseason with 10 more episodes.
- 24: Legacy is neither canceled nor renewed. Star Corey Hawkins is starring in the Broadway revival of Six Degrees of Separation and so wasn’t available for fall.
- Prison Break, originally announced as an event series, could return at some point, but “it’s definitely not something we want to do every season,” said Fox Television co-CEO Dana Walden.
- Though Fox has added four new dramas and two new comedies for 2017-18, only three will premiere this fall. The Gifted, Fox’s first Marvel series, features a family on the run after it’s discovered the children have mutant powers. The Orville, a sci-fi comedy-drama from Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and Jon Favreau (Iron Man), is set 400 years in the future on the Orville, a “mid-level exploratory spaceship.” Ghosted, a live-action comedy scheduled to air between The Simpsons and Family Guy, stars Craig Robinson (The Office) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), one playing a skeptic, the other a believer in the paranormal, who are asked to investigate “unexplained phenomena in Los Angeles.” (Were Mulder and Scully not available?)
- Yes, Fox is a little sad that American Idol will be back, on ABC, not Fox. But Walden appears to feel strongly that Fox, after billing the 15th season as the final one, would have needed to wait a few years — she suggested 2020 as the earliest — before bringing it back. Producer FremantleMedia disagreed, she said. When it looked as though Idol would end up on NBC, it “kind of made sense to us, because that gave them access to Simon Cowell,” who’s on America’s Got Talent. The ABC pickup apparently was more of a surprise.
- Among the new shows waiting in the wings for midseason is LA to Las Vegas, a comedy about an airline crew on a weekly no-frills round-trip flight, whose producers include Malvern’s Adam McKay as well as Will Ferrell, and Lon Zimmet.
Returning scripted shows include: Bob’s Burgers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Empire, The Exorcist, Family Guy, Gotham, The Last Man on Earth, Lethal Weapon, Lucifer, The Mick, New Girl, Star, The Simpsons, and The X-Files.
Canceled shows include: APB, Bones, Making History, Pitch, Rosewood, Scream Queens, Sleepy Hollow, and Son of Zorn.
Updated to clarify that Star and Empire were paired this season for the premiere of Star, not its entire season.