The fall TV lineup on Fox is here, and it has some quirks in it as the network adapts to the coronavirus pandemic. The entertainment industry is struggling to fill time slots without knowing when big film sets will be able to resume operations. From the looks of it, Fox has enough programming lined up, but a lot of things up in the air as well.
Much of Hollywood shut down for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, including TV and movie sets around the world. For now, people have plenty to watch, and producers have enough content to get through to keep us all busy. However, the slate for the fall 2020 TV season reveals the beginning of uncertainty for the industry as we know it. With no way to be sure when shows can resume filming in person, Fox is relying on animation, sports and programs that providers can produce with relatively little person-to-person contact.
As it stands, Fox's fall lineup was published by TV Line, where it was called "pretty pandemic-proof," but it does make a handful of assumptions. There is no telling whether stay-at-home orders will have eased in time for the fall and to what extent, so anything that requires even a bit of in-person filming may be in jeopardy.
Luckily, it sounds like Fox has several shows of different genres ready to go right now, meaning that their schedule will be filled out through the end of the year. In the meantime, the casts and crews of the TV industry are eagerly awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a look at Fox's fall 2020 TV lineup.
Monday & Tuesday
Fox will be starting the week out with several brand new shows this fall, including the drama L.A.'s Finest. The show stars Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, and originally premiered last spring on the Spectrum cable system. Fox has now acquired the show and will air Season 1 while even as Season 2 airs on Spectrum.
The only returning show in this part of the schedule is Cosmos: Possible Worlds, a docu-series following up on the educational series presented by Carl Sagan in 1980 and revived by Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2014. The show premiered on National Geographic in March and will now air on Fox as well.
L.A.'s Finest - 8 p.m. ET
NeXt - 9 p.m. ET
Cosmos: Possible Worlds - 8 p.m. ET
Filthy Rich - 9 p.m. ET
Wednesday - Friday
The second half of the week on Fox relies heavily on sports, though there is still no guarantee that the NFL season will kick off as planned. Meanwhile, Wednesday night includes two competition reality shows, and it is not clear if the lockdowns will be lifted in time to film them or if the formats will be changed to adapt.
The Masked Singer - 8 p.m. ET
MasterChef Junior - 9 p.m. ET
Thursday Night Football - 8 p.m. ET
WWE's SmackDown Live - 8 p.m. ET
Fox is counting on sports to carry Saturday nights this fall as well, while Sundays will be the real heart of the network's usual scripted programs. Animated sitcoms like The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers and Family Guy will be back, presumably adapting to socially-distant productions. Fox is even adding a new animated sitcom called Bless the Harts, featuring a cast of all-star comedian voices.
For Sports Saturday - 8 p.m. ET
The Simpsons - 8 p.m. ET
Bless the Harts - 8:30 p.m. ET
Bob's Burgers - 9 p.m. ET
Family Guy - 9:30 p.m. ET
Fox is holding a handful of heavy-hitters for midseason premieres, with the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have calmed enough for film sets to reopen by then. Both 9-1-1 and the spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star fall into this category, along with the animated comedy Duncanville and newcomers The Great North and Housebroken. Even Hell's Kitchen is reportedly holding off, signaling that reality shows are not immune to delays.
Fox has a few shows in a state of limbo, with no word yet on whether the network has canceled, delayed or officially renewed them. They include many of the network's beloved scripted shows, such as The Resident, Prodigal Son and Last Man Standing. According to TV Line, some of these shows are "a safe bet" for renewal, with the only question being the timing. Other shows in this category may include Jenna Dewan's Flirty Dancing, which is listed as "unofficially canceled."
TV Line has listed LEGO Masters and MasterChef as safe bets as well, though Ultimate Tag "could go either way." Others have been renewed but not added to the schedule, including Beat Shazam, Mental Samurai and So You Think You Can Dance. Outmatched is listed as "a long shot."
Despite the uncertainty, Fox has already made three cancellations official. Some of these shows were dropped before the pandemic even hit, while others have been canceled since. They are Almost Family, BH90210 and Deputy.
'Empire' and 'The Orville'0comments
Finally, as is becoming more and more common in the streaming age, two shows will live on outside of Fox after the network decided to drop them this year. Seth MacFarlane's The Orville will be migrating to Hulu for its third season, which was originally intended to premiere late this year.
Meanwhile, the series finale of Empire premiered last month, but there are strong hints that that will not be the end. According to TV Line, production on the planned Empire finale was effected by the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, which is why it was made up of clips from other episodes. Showrunner Brett Mahoney told the outlet that he still wants to shoot the finale when the pandemic is over and "send the series off" properly. This may come in the form of a standalone special, a TV movie or even "just releasing the script."