Sure, Fox will premiere 11 new series the network hopes will boost its 2013-14 TV schedule, but when the primetime going really gets tough, there's only one man Fox needs to call on: Jack Bauer.
Fox, which presents its new fall lineup at its annual upfront presentation in New York City Monday afternoon, has confirmed that Kiefer Sutherland's action hero will return to the network next May for a 12-episode storyline that will run into the summer.
"24: Live Another Day," as the miniseries will be called, will unfold the latest Jack Bauer adventure in chronological order, though with half the episodes, some hours will be skipped. The show's comeback season comes after "24" producers had tried for a couple of years to get a movie version of the series off the ground and after Sutherland's follow-up drama, "Touch," was canceled by Fox after its sophomore season.
As for the other big news on Fox's fall season schedule, the most high-profile new series include Oscar nominee and former "Talk Soup" host Greg Kinnear's return to the small screen in the legal drama "Rake," Emmy-winning "Saturday Night Live" alum Andy Samberg's tube return in the detective comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Law & Order: SVU" Emmy nominee Chris Meloni's TV comeback in the father-son comedy "Surviving Jack," as well as "Almost Human," a futuristic cop series from executive producer J.J. Abrams and "Fringe" creator J.H. Wyman, and the previously announced Seth MacFarlane live-action comedy "Dads."
Fox has also announced that an episode of "New Girl" gets the prized post-Super Bowl time slot, while "24" will not be the only event TV on the Fox schedule.
M. Night Shyamalan will bring his creepy storytelling (we mean that in a good way) to TV with an adaptation of Blake Crouch's novel "Pines," called "Wayward Pines." The miniseries will star Matt Dillon as Secret Service agent Ethan Burke, who's sent to the titular Idaho town to find two missing agents. But, according to Fox's description of the show, "instead of answers, Ethan's investigation only turns up more questions. Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive."
Series canceled by Fox, in addition to "Touch," include "The Mob Doctor" and "Ben and Kate," while "Fringe" ended its five-season run in January. "Family Guy" spinoff "The Cleveland Show" remains in limbo at the network.
[Related: Shows That Won't Be Back This Fall]
A description of the new series, along with our first impressions about which ones might make our must-see list next fall:
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Comedy)
Stars: Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, "Everybody Hates Chris" dad Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglia ("Reno 911!" and "Burning Love"), and Melissa Fumero ("One Life to Live")
Producers: "Parks and Recreation" producers Mike Schur (who also plays Dwight's cousin Mose on "The Office") and Dan Goor
Plot: Samberg is a goofy New York City police detective, and Braugher is his more strait-laced boss.
First Impression: It's a pretty winning combination, from the "Parks" producers to Samberg (whose talents are much more suited to TV than movies) and the always fantastic Braugher. And then there's the likelihood that Crews, who was ridiculously overlooked for well-deserved Emmy nominations on "Everybody Hates Chris," will come in and steal every scene he's in … overall, definitely a must-see entry on the fall schedule.
Stars: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull, Peter Riegert ("The Good Wife" and "The Sopranos"), Brenda Song ("New Girl," "Scandal," and "The Suite Life on Deck"), and Vanessa Lachey
Producers: Seth MacFarlane, and "Family Guy" and "Ted" co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild
Plot: Childhood BFFs Green and Ribisi are successful 30-somethings who have their worlds rocked when their difficult fathers (Mull and Riegert) become their roommates.
First Impression: The four male leads have the comedy chops to lead the show (and Lachey proved she can bring the funny herself with her memorable "30 Rock" guest spot in Season 5), but it's the writing that's going to determine whether or not the series is must-see or just "$#*! Our Dads Say."
Stars: Geoff Stults ("October Road" and "The Finder"), Keith David (Cameron Diaz's scene-stealing stepdad in "There's Something About Mary"), Parker Young ("Suburgatory"), and Chris Lowell ("Private Practice")
Producer: "Scrubs" and "Cougar Town" writer and producer Kevin Biegel
Plot: Three brothers try to reconnect while working together at an Army base in Florida. Stults plays one of the brothers, which begs the question of why his real-life look-alike brother and fellow actor George Stults wasn't also cast.
First Impression: Any show featuring Keith David in its cast gets at least a pilot episode viewing from us. Aside from that, the Stults/Young/Lowell comedy chemistry is the big question for us (along with why Other Stults wasn't cast, of course … seriously, how do you pass up that opportunity, even from a marketing standpoint?).
"Surviving Jack" (Comedy)
Stars: Chris Meloni, Alex Kapp Horner ("The New Adventures of Old Christine"), Connor Buckley ("Deception"), and Claudia Lee ("Hart of Dixie")
Producers: Bill Lawrence ("Scrubs" and "Cougar Town"), Patrick Schumacker and Justin Halpern ("$#*! My Dad Says"), and Jeff Ingold
Plot: Based on "$#*! My Dad Says" author Halpern's follow-up book, "I Suck at Girls," "Jack" is another autobiographical effort from Halpern. In Fox's official description, Meloni's titular Jack is "a man becoming a dad, as his son is becoming a man, in a time before 'coming of age' was something you could Google" (i.e., the 1990s).
First Impression: We chuckle just from thinking about Meloni's "Scrubs" guest appearance as a prickly pediatrician, so his reunion with Lawrence is certainly a good thing. But the CBS adaptation of Halpern's first book (on which he and Schumacker were also producers) was soooo bad … well, let's just say here's hoping the $#*! dad says this time around is a lot funnier.
"Us & Them" (Comedy)
Stars: "Gilmore Girls" and "Mad Men" alum Alexis Bledel, "Parenthood" alum Jason Ritter, Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller ("Psych"), and Kerri Kenney ("Reno 911!")
Producers: David Rosen ("I Just Want My Pants Back"), James Corden, Ruth Jones, and Henry Normal ("Gavin & Stacey"), and Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner ("Torchwood"). "Tropic Thunder" star Steve Coogan is an executive producer.
Plot: Based on the hit British comedy "Gavin & Stacey," the series follows a couple (Bledel and Ritter) who try to make their long-distance relationship work, with help/interference from friends and family.
First Impression: This series' success obviously depends on the chemistry between the romantic leads, and who doesn't love them some Rory Gilmore and Mark Cyr (Ritter's "Parenthood" character, who, coincidentally, romanced the character played by Bledel's "Gilmore" mom Lauren Graham)? Our only concern: is it possible the Bledel/Ritter coupling will be too cutesy, in that way that Zooey Deschanel's "New Girl" character Jess can sometimes be too adorkable?
NEXT: Preview the new dramas from Kinnear and Abrams, and see Fox's full fall 2013 schedule.
"Almost Human" (Drama)
Stars: "Star Trek" movie series star Karl Urban, Michael Ealy ("Common Law"), and Lili Taylor ("Hemlock Grove" and "Six Feet Under")
Producers: J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman
Plot: A police drama, set 35 years in the future, in which human police officers and androids work together to thwart baddies.
First Impression: The whole "futuristic cops" genre is tired, but the Abrams/Wyman collaboration, along with the fact that the show will feature Urban's first lead TV series role, makes it worth a look.
"Gang Related" (Drama)
Stars: "Lost" Emmy winner Terry O'Quinn, Ramon Rodriguez ("Charlie's Angels" and "The Wire"), Jay Hernandez ("Nashville"), and rapper/actor RZA ("G.I. Joe: Retaliation")
Producers: Scott Rosenbaum ("The Shield," "V," and "Chuck"), Chris Morgan ("Wanted" and "Fast & Furious 6"), and Brian Grazer.
Plot: A rising star of the Los Angeles Police Department's Gang Task Force (Rodriguez) -- led by O'Quinn's Sam Chapel -- finds his loyalties tested because of his old ties to one of the city's most notorious gangs.
First Impression: Seems like one of those shows that, without a major name as the lead, could get lost in the glut of new dramas that will premiere next fall. Still, an interesting concept and cast, so we definitely wouldn't write it off without at least a pilot viewing.
Stars: Greg Kinnear
Producers: Peter Tolan ("Rescue Me" and "The Job") and Peter Duncan (creator of the Australian series of the same name that the show is based on). "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi was director and an executive producer on the pilot episode.
Plot: "As Good As It Gets" Oscar nominee Kinnear (who earned an Emmy nomination last year for a guest gig on "Modern Family") stars as Keegan Deane, a brilliant, charming, and self-destructive attorney who (as per the Fox description), "takes on the cases that nobody else will touch, ruled by a resolute optimism, belief in justice, and dogged determination to defend those who seem beyond redemption -- much like himself."
First Impression: It's not only the new Fox series to watch, but one of the must-see contenders to be a hit on any of the networks next fall. It will be wonderful not only to see Kinnear back on TV, but in a role -- the show seems to have more of a dramedy than straight drama vibe -- that's tailor made for his talents and charm.
"Sleepy Hollow" (Drama)
Stars: Orlando Jones ("MADtv"), Katia Winter ("Dexter"), Tom Mison ("Parade's End"), John Cho ("Go On"), and Nicole Beharie ("The Good Wife")
Producers: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Star Trek," "Transformers," and "Fringe"), and Len Wiseman (the "Underworld" and "Hawaii Five-O" producer who also directed the "Sleepy Hollow" pilot)
Plot: A modern spin on the Washington Irving classic, with Ichabod Crane (Mison) getting "resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and that he is humanity's last hope," forcing him to partner with contemporary police officers to "unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers."
First Impression: At one point last year, both The CW and Fox were developing "Sleepy Hollow" pilots, and while the subject matter doesn't warrant competing network series, Headless Horseman, 2013 style? We're in.
"Junior MasterChef" (Reality)
Stars: Gordon Ramsay, Del Posto and Eataly restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and chef Graham Elliott
Producers: Elisabeth Murdoch and Robin Ashbrook ("MasterChef"), Eden Gaha ("The Biggest Loser"), Paul Franklin ("The Apprentice Australia"), Adeline Ramage Rooney and Patricia Llewellyn ("Kitchen Nightmares"), Ben Adler ("Hotel Hell"), and Gordon Ramsay
Plot: A spinoff of another Ramsay series on Fox, "MasterChef," this is a kiddie version in which the three judge-mentors help steer aspiring cooks ages 8 to 13 in whipping up some tasty dishes, via a series of challenges and cook-offs.
First Impression: Sounds fun. The Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Ramsay's many cooking shows have certainly inspired a whole generation of kiddie foodies, and with all the concern about childhood obesity, you know, you can give a kid a Filet O' Fish, or you can teach him or her how to cook up a tasty, and healthier, salmon dish.
"Murder Police" (Animated -- Midseason)
Stars: Will Sasso ("The Three Stooges" and "MADtv"), Chi McBride ("Golden Boy"), Jane Lynch ("Glee"), and Jason Ruiz
Producers: David A. Goodman ("Family Guy") and Jason Ruiz
Plot: Follows the adventures of a well-meaning but bumbling detective (Ruiz) and his colleagues in a "twisted city precinct."
First Impression: Fox says the 'toon "expands the boundaries of the cop show genre as only animation can," which is setting some pretty high expectations.
FOX 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(All times ET)
8 PM -- "Bones" (fall) / "Almost Human" (late fall)
9 PM -- "Sleepy Hollow" (fall) / "The Following" (midseason)
8 PM -- "Dads"
8:30 PM -- "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
9 PM -- "New Girl"
9:30 PM -- "The Mindy Project"
8 PM -- "The X Factor" (fall) / "American Idol" (midseason)
8 PM -- "The X Factor" Results (fall) / "American Idol" Results (midseason)
9 PM -- "Glee" (fall) / "Rake" (midseason)
8 PM -- "Junior MasterChef" (fall)
9 PM "Sleepy Hollow" encores (fall)
8 PM -- "Bones" (late fall)
9 PM -- "Raising Hope" (late fall)
9:30 PM -- "Enlisted" (late fall)
7 PM -- Fox Sports Saturday
11 PM -- Animation Domination
7 PM -- NFL Game (fall)
7:30 PM -- "The OT" (fall)
8 PM -- "The Simpsons"
8:30 PM -- "Bob's Burgers"
9 PM -- "Family Guy"
9:30 PM -- "American Dad"