Why Fox Just Canceled So Many Shows

A number of beloved shows on Fox were canceled this week, but the network may have good reason for its changing priorities.

Five shows were canned by Fox — Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Last Man on Earth, The Mick, Lucifer and The Exorcist. More cuts could be on the way, and according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, it can all be traced back to Fox's deal with the NFL.

Back in January, Fox signed a five-year deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football. The sporting event will occupy more than 30 hours of Fox's airtime, leaving less room for many of the beloved shows that call the network home. In addition, Fox holds the rights to air Major League Baseball postseason games, including the World Series.

To top it all off, Fox is in a unique position among TV networks. Unlike ABC, NBC and CBS, Fox does not program the 10 p.m. hour, giving them less real estate to begin with.

It's not all bad news, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine has already been saved thanks to fan outcry. The show will go on, now on NBC instead. It should be right at home there, as the show's creator Michael Schur has a new comedy coming to the network this year and The Good Place returning for a third season.

Among the shows Fox did renew are The Simpson's, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers. The animated comedies always do well for the network. Meanwhile, Empire, Star, 911 and The Resident are all coming back, as are The Gifted, The Orville, The Passage and Proven Innocent.

Despite canceling five of its own shows, Fox has opted to revive Last Man Standing, the Tim Allen-led comedy that was canceled by ABC in May of 2016.

Fans of the show accused the network of removing one of the only conservative comedies from the air, though executives maintained that it was a purely financial decision. Now, Mike Baxter will return to TV in the era of the Roseanne reboot, which proved that conservative views can have some success on a sitcom.


Roseanne has risen to the height of most-watched comedy on TV this season, marking the first time in years that a show other than Big Bang Theory wins that spot. In response, many networks have scrambled to pick up multi-camera comedies — Last Man Standing among them.

Fox is expected to decide on at least one more renewal before its upfront presentation on Monday.