Up Front About the Upfronts, Part 2: Where Does Fox Stand?

By Tim Surette

May 08, 2012

Next week, the major TV networks will announce their 2012-2013 schedules to a crowd of advertising executives in hopes that those executives will throw down a ton of money to run ads during the networks' programs. These sessions are known as the Upfronts, and they're where we'll all find out for good (mostly) what shows are renewed, what shows are canceled, and what new shows we can look forward to next year. It's, like, a really big deal you guys! So in preparation, we'll spend this week taking a look at each one of the five major networks by reviewing what they've done in the past year and predicting what's in store for 2012-2013. Today we're assessing Fox, which holds its presentation on Monday, May 14.

Where Fox stands now: Pretty tall, actually. Fox is on its way to another ratings victory in the 18-49 demographic (currently it's averaging a 3.2), even though its numbers are slightly down from last year. After CBS, Fox has the strongest core of shows (from a ratings and reliability standpoint), so it's a case of not needing to fix what isn't broken. Things are looking great for Fox moving forward.

What worked this year: Hey girl! Whatcha doin? Fox enjoyed a huge surprise with the early success of New Girl, adding another face to its arsenal with Zooey Deschanel and her bangs. But more importantly, New Girl is a successful live-action comedy! That's a department that Fox has been dying to establish, and now it has the chance to develop the comedy block it's always wanted. Ratings may be down for American Idol, but Fox should be happy that the singing competition is still one of TV's top shows and pulling in something like 16 million viewers a week. It's also been a good year for Fox PR thanks to a fan-friendly renewal for Fringe.

What failed this year: It's not often that a show that pulls in double-digit-millions of people is considered a flop, but The X Factor ate a plate of humble lasagna even though it ranked high in its time period(s). It's going to undergo a lot of changes during the off-season, but it's in danger of becoming irrelevant fast. Alcatraz and The Finder were duds, but they looked pretty good compared to Terra Nova and its Brontosaurus-sized budget. I think Fox also learned its lesson with multi-camera comedies, thanks to I Hate My Teenage Daughter.

What's ahead for Fox: Expect Fox to really push live-action comedies next season. It's got its foot in the door on the comedy front, but the network will need at least one of its 11 single-camera comedy pilots to develop nicely so it can finally join the rest of television with a comedy block of its own. With House on its way out and uncertainty surrounding Alcatraz and Touch, there's plenty of room for a new hour-long drama to step in and be the big cheese. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the works that sounds interesting.

What Fox should be careful with: Beware of doubling up on the over-produced singing competitions! All signs point to talent shows trending down, and though it might be tempting to throw lots of cash at The X Factor, the genre is getting way too crowded now that every network has its own version of American Idol.

Risky proposal that could pay off: Move Glee to Mondays where Fox has been weak for several seasons and blow out a four-show comedy block on Tuesdays, which are ripe for the picking. And maybe stay away from shows that cost a small fortune to make. But right now, it should be steady as she goes for Fox, which is looking like the network of the future.

What scheduling changes would YOU make if you were a Fox executive?

RELATED STORY: Up Front About the Upfronts: Where does NBC stand?

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • JeffDonovan May 14, 2012

    Really FOX 30 years of simpsons, and one of the best shows ive seen in a long time you guys got to FIND your self get your heads out of matt groenings ass, and those shit cartoons you play on sun. Lookin for the 18-49 demographic why dont you ask us! And let me guess the ceo is 82 thats who made the call!

  • BiniBeans May 14, 2012

    Don't get the Zooey Deschanel hype at all.

  • xo-AnimeFan-xo May 11, 2012

    They're keep Touch.. thats great! In a tv world filled with bad sitcoms and crime dramas, its nice to have something different!!

  • rdharm May 11, 2012

    Keep "Finder" we love it!

  • bkyle2429 May 11, 2012

    Fox does not have the strongest core of shows ABC, CBS even the CW have better shows, FOX has a poor record of axing good shows big time, now I'm saying that the other networks are immune to this because their not, House is gone after this season, Kudos for Fox for giving Fringe (which I dont watch) another season, but overall not impressed with Foxes lineup , Bones and Touch are the two that I watched, AI is sucking this year for people have told me, Time for it to end, and to add to Foxes stupidity from what I'm hearing no results show on SYTYCD big mistake thier Fox take way Football, Baseball, and AI and they are nothing with a few extrra decent shows which include BONES, TOUCH, FRINGE HOUSE < AND SAYTYCD

  • gtbell May 11, 2012

    I'm tiring of some parts of Touch. Kiefer is a little too whisper-y for my taste. Sooner or later, the kid has to let his dad Touch him. He also has to talk at some point.

    I was enjoying Alcatraz. It should come back if for no other reason than Sam Neil and his blonde helper. I'd like to see more of her!

    No loss with The Finder.

  • deepwaters5 May 10, 2012

    Boo! Fox cancelling Alcatraz and The Finder is terrible news to wake up to. I enjoy both shows. The Finder might have done with some tweaking but why give up on a show entirely? Will never understand the execs. At least Touch remains, but don't let it become another 'Lost' please, where it drags out just because it has good ratings. Tell the story then end the show.

  • rhezekim May 10, 2012

    If I was FOX I would not air any reality shows, I am tired of reality shows, I don't know about all of you but I like to watch TV for entertainment and to relax and enjoy myself. I would love to see FOX do something like a non-animation domination comedy block.

  • Writerpatrick May 10, 2012

    Maybe FOX will finally be able to put the bones of the Simpsons to rest. But they won't.

  • numbster May 10, 2012

    The Finder is a great show just on the fact that it is one of those shows that you can enjoy

    For me it is simple about fun characters good story line and their is sooo many places you can go with this show

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