It’s that wonderful time of year again, the annual Television industry Upfront announcements. Each year network executives gather TV writers and network affiliates into a room and attempt to dazzle them with star-power and the even greater power of ‘The New,’ as in new shows, new nights, new things to write and be excited about; not that TV writers are all that excitable anymore.
Indeed, with the ever increasing irrelevance of network television an already cynical lot of TV writers are somehow finding new ways to be less excited about ‘The New.’ Nevertheless, no matter how our excitement has dampened over the years, there are a few things worth noting about the Upfront season and first up is the Fox Network with the announcement of a fall slate that includes the beginning of their relationship with D.C Comics (“Gotham”), the return of one of those unicorn-like things known as a hit show (“Sleepy Hollow”) and (Gasp!) a distinct lack of singers competing in front of judges.
Here are five things to take away from Fox’s 2014 Upfront Announcements
1. ABC has Marvel, Fox has D.C
This fall Fox will premiere the ‘Batman’ prequel “Gotham” on Monday Nights at 8 Eastern, 7 Central. The series stars Ben MacKenzie as future Police Commissioner Jim Gordon fighting the good fight in Gotham City in a pre-Batman universe. The series begins a Fox-D.C Comics relationship that may mirror the relationship between ABC and Marvel eventually, though unlike that network pairing in which Disney owns both ABC and Marvel, D.C can come and go as it pleases in the world of network TV. That said, if “Gotham” becomes the hit that many are expecting it would go along way toward cementing the Fox-D.C partnership.
2. The Singing Based Reality Show is Dead?
Fans of “The Voice,” I’m sure, would argue this opinion but it seems that the pop culture moment of the singing based reality show is finally passing. Fox supposedly had a surefire hit in “X-Factor” and it went belly up in just two years, even with Simon Cowell’s withering commentaries. That said, it could have been the confusing format or lack of a charismatic champion that doomed the series. However, looking at the fall lineup’s lack of another attempt in the genre and the flagging “American Idol” the fate of the music based reality show looks grim indeed.
3. Unbreakable ‘Bones’
How has the crime procedural “Bones” lasted 10 seasons? Consistency. Whether it’s the cast that has suffered very few changes in its decade on the or its rating which have somehow stayed in the 6 to 8 million weekly butter zone for the series entire run. Consistency is the hallmark of the series. Hence why the series that just won’t die has been once again given a death sentence. After somehow surviving a move to the Friday night dead zone last season, “Bones” moves to Thursday at 8 Eastern, 7 Central, this fall opposite CBS’s brand new night of NFL Football. Hey, if any series can survive the NFL monolith, its “Bones.”
4. “Broadchurch” Buried?
First, Fox changed the name of the cult British series from the evocative “Broadchurch” to the more vapid “Gracepoint” and now they’ve doomed the series to air on Thursday’s opposite the NFL. Sure, the series is well paired with “Bones” and may be able to grab a few of that series’ loyal followers but with David Tennant making the move to America and Anna Gunn taking on her first role since “Breaking Bad” and a supporting cast that includes Nick Nolte and multiple time Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver in the supporting cast doesn’t it seem that “Broadchurch,” rather “Gracepoint” deserved better than to be crushed by the likes of the Oakland Raiders?
5. No “Glee” No “Following” No Problem
“Glee” has fallen off a cliff. The ratings for the formerly buzzy teen series dropped astonishingly after the announcement that Fox had planned to keep the series for a few more seasons. The ratings fall off was so bad in fact that Fox had to can the discussed three season pick up of the series and instead announced that the next season will be the last for the series. Even worse, “Glee” won’t return until January in hope that the network can burn off as many episodes as possible in the shortest amount of time. As for “The Following” its a wonder that Fox got a third season out of the successful serial killer series given star Kevin Bacon’s repeated protestations. Bacon is the most reluctant TV star working today, negotiating 15 episode seasons and seeming entirely uncomfortable with the idea of being on television. As part of Bacon’s unique contract, the series will also not debut until January and despite being something of a hit, will burn off just as quickly as the flagging “Glee.”