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Monday May 28, 2007 12:40 pm

No Big Surprises on FOX’s Fall Line-Up

FOX LogoFor a change, is currently enjoying the view from the top. At the beginning of the year, the network was number four (falling behind all of their major competitors). Today, it’s the number one network in the land – thanks largely to the success of , the show that in the past six years has become the bread and butter of the “bad boy” network. FOX is hard at work trying to maintain ratings supremacy, and has finally unveiled their upcoming fall schedule…days after the competition showed off theirs. What’s on the schedule for FOX?

No less than ten brand-new shows are scheduled to come to the network, though only three of these will be reality series. In the network’s earliest days, surprise hits like Married, With Children gave them staying power, though hardly a competitive edge. The Simpsons resurrected FOX in the days when warm, fuzzy, family drama was ruling other stations. But it wasn’t until the runaway success of American Idol that FOX became a serious ratings contender. Any show that can beat CSI has got to be worth something, right? Will the new fall schedule contain another big hit surprise? FOX certainly hopes so.

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Kelsey Grammer plays a role not related to his former Frasier success on Back to You, a show about TV news anchors that co-stars Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame. With big star power like this, people are going to give the a look. The script will determine whether or not they change the channel – though the fact that Grammer is on board already speaks highly of the series.

The dramatic New Amsterdam is a little more dubious. Not only is the show’s star Nikolai Coster-Waldau totally unrecognizable, but the series itself is about an immortal searching (through the centuries) for love. There are so many things wrong with this…I really just can’t get into it. FOX has obviously learned its lesson based upon success: for whatever reason, unbelievable and way too over-the-top seems to work with their primary audience.

Police drama K-Ville is either going to go one or two ways: dismal failure or, big ratings success. Set two years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the show comes from the same man who wrote NYPD Blue and The District. K-Ville will no doubt be gritty and a little sad.

The much-touted reality spin-off The Search for the Next Great American Band will also debut in the fall, just after Hell’s Kitchen summer success is ending but before the next American Idol craze can begin. This show will FOX its much-needed year-round reality coverage. While the Search will probably be interesting to watch, it will probably never equal Idol-like success.

An Hell’s Kitchen-esque reality series called Kitchen Nightmares will also join the FOX fall line-up. In this, a chef will try to get kitchens into shape. The did something very similar (frighteningly similar) to much success. FOX will also unveil Nashville, a docu-soap-style series that follows young performers on their quest to musical fame.

More shows will kick in for a midseason premiere, just when people are starting to talk about the next American Idol again. As FOX and other networks rush to create more new shows in the hopes of finding just one big success story, everyone else just struggles to find anything worth watching on their TV screens. Will it be reality music searches, dramas set in tragic places, funny comedies with big-name TV stars? Or will FOX be forced to create ten new shows, just one year from now?



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