FOX went into the 2016-17 season on a down note, as every freshman comedy that premiered last season was cancelled and the dramas that made it were either propped up by another show or did most of their damage in metrics other than L+SD. It’s been tough for the network to surround Empire with other strong content and the 2016-17 both exemplified that and showed signs of progress for the network; while the likes of Pitch and The Exorcist underperformed, Lethal Weapon snagged an audience despite a much reduced lead-out. Rosewood expectedly sank without the comfort of Empire by its side, the Monday comic dramas continued doing quietly steady business, and Scream Queens put up horrific numbers after grabbing an early renewal last January. It’s been an up and down (but mostly down) time for FOX, but how have their fall trials and tribulations prepared them for midseason? Is there a chance that FOX could find the show they’re looking for in this year’s crop of midseason shows?
That’s where we come in. KSiteTV Editor-in-Chief Craig Byrne and site contributor Shilo Adams have taken it upon themselves to assess how each broadcast network’s fall 2016 schedule has panned out. In addition to naming everything from the best scheduling move to the bubble show most in need of divine intervention, they’ve predicted which midseason shows could be a hit with audiences before laying out what each network needs going forward and giving a grade for achievements thus far. Keep in mind, the opinions expressed in these articles aren’t definitive, as how the midseason shows perform and the stability of the fall shows can make scheduling moves that seem bad look a little better or knock out the chances of a bubble show escaping this season with renewal in hand. This is just a snapshot of where FOX is right now and a look ahead at what could happen once midseason gets under way.
Before you delve into these thoughts on FOX, here’s a link to the initial FOX 2016-17 fall scheduling analysis article, as well as links to the three previous midseason report cards.
BEST SCHEDULING MOVE
Craig: Lethal Weapon was probably the strongest new launch for FOX, which is probably to be expected as it is paired with Empire. Sadly, that might have been one of the only bright spots in an otherwise dire Fall for the network.
Shilo: Lethal Weapon has turned out to be a pretty nice piece for FOX, in that it’s much stronger than Rosewood ever was with a much weaker Empire halo going for it. With Bones on the way out and Sleepy Hollow a bottom of the bubble performer at best, FOX needed to replenish its procedural ranks and add the depth that has been missing for quite a while, so the success of Lethal Weapon was as necessary as it was welcome. Even if it didn’t benefit tremendously from airing alongside Empire, at least the network can now say that the Lee Daniels drama helped the show get sampled and produced something that can help with rebuilding the network. And FOX will be able to move Lethal Weapon without worrying about a collapse, so they can use whatever strength Empire has next season to further build out their crumbled drama slate.
WORST SCHEDULING MOVE
Shilo: I feel like I understand what FOX was going for with Tuesdays. They wanted a low-priority night they could take their eye off of so they could focus on launching the new programming on Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. You can’t rebuild an entire schedule in one season and if they had to eat some underwhelming ratings in order to get other nights going, that’d be alright. But the comedies are having off seasons (New Girl more than Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and not giving the night much of a pulse, while the second season of Scream Queens was an enormous dumpster fire stoked by female-skewing competition (This Is Us) and a failed creative reboot. After a season where it dropped over half from an underwhelming series premiere, the show again dropped half from an underwhelming season premiere, so it’s been a ride straight to the bottom of the ratings barrel for a show that shouldn’t have been back in the fall to begin with.
Craig: I’m tempted to mention FOX’s Tuesday bomb drop, but I’m actually going to point to the whole Rosewood move as something that might have killed the show. I guess it can’t be paired with Empire forever, but being on Thursday it became kind of an afterthought. Rosewood’s underperformance surely hurt its leadout Pitch in the process.