Fox schedule includes its first miniseries
In this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 photo, Seth MacFarlane poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. Fox, facing the ebbing ratings power of "American Idol," is betting big on its first miniseries and shows from heavyweight producers MacFarlane and J.J. Abrams to invigorate its schedule. The network is making its largest original-programming investment yet with a crop of 11 new series along with the miniseries from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan for the 2013-14 season, Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chairman, said Monday, May 13, 2013. That's more than double the five series it announced last year. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox, facing the ebbing ratings power of "American Idol," is betting big on its first miniseries and shows from heavyweight producers Seth MacFarlane and J.J. Abrams to invigorate its schedule.
The network is making its largest original-programming investment yet with a crop of 11 new series along with the miniseries from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan for the 2013-14 season, Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chairman, said Monday. That's more than double the five series it announced last year.
Fox was the second of the major broadcast networks to announce its schedule for next season, following NBC's unveiling Sunday of an even heftier load of 17 new series.
After changing the TV landscape with "American Idol," Fox is jumping on the miniseries bandwagon that started rolling with the History channel's hits "Hatfields & McCoys" and "The Bible."
"Wayward Pines," from Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense") and based on the best-selling novel "Pines," stars Matt Dillon in what Fox called a "mind-bending thriller" about the search for missing federal agents in an Idaho town. It will air in midseason.
Other broadcast network miniseries reportedly are in the works, following cable's success with the genre that once was a TV mainstay but had gone dormant.
"American Idol" is staying put on Wednesday and Thursday nights when it returns for its 13th season next January. The same can't be said for its judges: Original panelist Randy Jackson said he won't be back, and speculation has newcomers Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban exiting as the aging series seeks a reboot.
MacFarlane, a key Fox supplier with the animated comedies "Family Guy," ''American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show," will be trying his hand at a live-action sitcom. "Dads" stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as best friends whose fathers (Martin Mull, Peter Riegert) become their new roommates.
Abrams ("Lost," ''Fringe" and the "Star Trek" movie franchise) is among the producers of "Almost Human," described by Fox as a high-tech action series set 35 years in the future, when officers are teamed with humanlike androids. The drama debuting this fall stars Karl Urban, Michael Ealy and Lili Taylor.
The second new fall drama is "Sleepy Hollow," a retelling of Washington Irving's classic 19th-century tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Timid schoolmaster Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected 250 years in the future and discovers he must save the world from destruction.
"The Following," the Kevin Bacon drama about an alliance of serial killers that proved a hit for Fox in its freshman year, will be back on the schedule in midseason.
Fox's Tuesday-night comedy block, introduced last year, will get two new occupants this fall, "Dads" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which pairs Andy Samberg ("Saturday Night Live") and Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age," ''Homicide: Life on the Street") as a hotshot detective and veteran captain.
"The Mindy Project" and "New Girl" will return to Tuesday, and the latter sitcom has earned the prized post-Super Bowl spot next February, Fox said.