Second up is FOX, which is heading into its first season as an independent network following the Disney merger. Surprisingly, they opted to go very heavy toward scripted content, ordering ten shows despite programming the second fewest hours among the five broadcast networks. There’s a new animated comedy on Sundays in Bless the Harts, while 9-1-1 is being used to launch serial killer thriller Prodigal Son and The Masked Singer moves into fall to give fertility drama Not Just Me a boost. Elsewhere, the final season of Empire is thrown against This Is Us and given a lead-in from The Resident and WWE SmackDown makes its broadcast return after spending the last decade traipsing through USA Network, Syfy, and My Network TV. Will FOX be proven right in betting so big on live events and scripted content in 2019-2020?
SHILO: Well, we were both right about the shows that made up this night – we just didn’t know what order they would be in. Bless the Harts makes a certain amount of sense here given that the other three comedies are family-centric and I’m not surprised they’d want a show with this voice cast to get a big fall push. What was the surprise here is Bob’s Burgers and Family Guy both being pushed back half an hour; I get putting Bless the Harts at 8:30 because of the football halo, but why did both animated shows that proceed it have to move? Trying to sure up the 9:30 slot with something strong and 20+ episodes is understandable given that they had to air Family Guy reruns there for most of the season, but Family Guy has been their top-rated show this season in both Live + Same Day and non-linear measures. Even though Bob’s Burgers has looked very well this season, I don’t know the show will get enough of a boost from airing at 9:00 to justify having to promote both it and Family Guy moving.
CRAIG: I guess the thought is that Family Guy would be the ideal lead-in for the local newscast, and I know you love Bob’s Burgers, but I didn’t see the schedule shifting a half hour in the direction that it did. The Bless The Harts of it all does make sense, as the shows are aging and one probably should have the immediate 8:30 post-Simpsons slot; I just didn’t see or picture this. And I wonder if Harts or Bob’s Burgers will end up pre-empted when football goes long.