Fox may have had a down year last season, but the network knows how to bounce back. Its schedule is a solid combination of old vets helping out new shows and an interesting flow to releasing new projects. Fox has added a "late fall" launch window for some of its biggest attractions, making its schedule more of a year-round affair of premieres rather than the standard "fall" and "midseason" launches. Fox is also making good on its "event series" (cool guy speak for "miniseries") with M. Night Shyamalan's Wayward Pines and a 12-episode return of 24. Fox will also add the Animation Domination High-Def block on Saturday nights, featuring short-form (12-minute) cartoons. All this is kinda cool, if you ask me. And with cable's total disregard for standard scheduling changing audience's expectations for show launches, the old network routine looks a bit archaic and Fox may be showing networks how it's done.
Let's run through Fox's week day-by-day (scroll down for an easy-to-read detail-free schedule):
Fox is looking to build on Mondays, where it made some ground last season with The Following. The network hasn't been relevant on Mondays since House was in its prime, but it looks like that has a good chance to change with Bones leading in the new series Sleepy Hollow at the start of the season. Fox appears to be pretty high on Sleepy Hollow and has already scheduled repeat airings of the genre procedural about a time-warped Ichabod Crane on Fridays. In "late fall" (whenever that is) Bones will pack its bags and move to Fridays to give way to the Fringe team of J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's Almost Human (pictured, android cops pair with human cops in the future) at 8pm, presumable with Sleepy Hollow continuing behind it. Come midseason, The Following and its shorter episode run (Kevin Bacon's contract stipulates seasons of no more than 15 episodes) follows Almost Human.
It's more comedy on Tuesdays as Fox tries its hand at a comedy block again. New Girl remains the anchor at 9pm, followed by The Mindy Project which looks to rebound from a disappointing first season. Kicking off the night are a pair of noobs: Seth MacFarlane's live-action comedy Dads, starring Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green as two dudes who let their dads move in with them (LOL), starts at 8pm, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (pictured), starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher as cops and Fox's best-looking new comedy, sits at 8:30. Sounds like Fox is trying to make the 8pm hour for the men and the 9pm hour for the ladies. The transition between beer commercials to tampon ads should be jarring. (Note to self: track the commercials in that hour and write something about it.) Noticeably missing is Raising Hope, which has been moved to Fridays.
Nothing much to discuss here. The X Factor in the fall and American Idol in midseason. Let's move on!
It's results show Thursdays! The 8pm hour will be taken up by The X Factor and American Idol making and breaking nobodies. Glee returns for Season 5 in the fall, and Greg Kinnear's new drama Rake (pictured), about a cranky but brilliant (it's always "...but brilliant" with these TV shows) criminal defense lawyer, will get an American Idol boost in 2014.
Things get a little wacky on Fridays, which appears to be Fox's experimental evening. At 8pm in the fall, Gordon Ramsay will make children cry on Junior Masterchef, which is exactly what it sounds like. That's followed by the previously mentioned Sleepy Hollow repeats. In "late fall" (again, not sure when that is) Friday completely changes over. Bones moves to 8pm, and the 9pm hour becomes a comedy block with Raising Hope at 9 and new comedy Enlisted (pictured), about three brothers at a Florida army base, at 9:30pm. Hey, at least Fox is already upfront about moving Bones to Fridays. Is it wrong to be unreasonably excited about this potentially new scheduling system?
If it ain't broke, no need to fix it. The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy, and American Dad air from 8pm to 10pm. It looks like The Cleveland Show is a goner, as expected.
New drama Gang Related and new comedies Surviving Jack, Us & Them (pictured), and Murder Police are all waiting in the wings for midseason. And I'm sure there are about 15 Gordon Ramsay shows lurking in the shadows as well. M. Night Shyamalan's Wayward Pines mystery miniseries (with a TWEEEST!) will air in 2014 as the first of Fox's planned "event series," the much-hyped return of 24 is actually happening with the 12-episode 24: Live Another Day (date TBD), and Fox's new short-form animation block Animation Domination High-Def is set to premiere Saturday nights in the fall. Oh, one final note: New Girl will get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot this year.
FOX's 2013-2014 SCHEDULE (New shows in ALL CAPS)
8:00-9:00 PM Bones (fall) / ALMOST HUMAN (late fall)
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (fall) / The Following (midseason)
8:00-8:30 PM DADS (new)
8:30-9:00 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (new)
9:00-9:30 PM New Girl
9:30-10:00 PM The Mindy Project
8:00-10:00 PM The X Factor (fall) / American Idol (midseason)
8:00-9:00 PM The X Factor Results (fall) / American Idol Results (midseason)
9:00-10:00 PM Glee (fall) / RAKE (midseason)
8:00-9:00 PM JUNIOR MASTERCHEF (wt) (fall)
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW encores (fall)
8:00-9:00 PM Bones (late fall)
9:00-9:30 PM Raising Hope (late fall)
9:30-10:00 PM ENLISTED (new; late fall)
7:00-10:30 PM Fox Sports Saturday
11:00 PM-12:30 AM ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF
7:00-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall)
7:30-8:00 PM The OT (fall)
8:00-8:30 PM The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 PM Bob's Burgers
9:00-9:30 PM Family Guy
9:30-10:00 PM American Dad
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom