The Upfronts: Fox Goes Wilde for Arnett

This week is upfront week in New York, with the U.S. broadcast networks announcing their selections for fall. Fox went first this morning and the network hopes to continue spreading Glee next season. In a conference call with critics this morning, Fox chairman Peter Rice and programming president Kevin Reilly announced they’ll platform Glee–the No. 1 new show this season–right after the Super Bowl. (A fumble for CTV, which can’t cross promote the Canadian simulcast since Global’s got Glee.) They also say Glee and the success of ABC’s Modern Family indicate a strong shift toward comedy and they ordered their development accordingly.
Fox has ordered four new comedies, including Running Wilde (which shot its pilot on Vancouver). Toronto lad Will Arnett re-teams with Arrested Development genius Mitch Hurwitz on the series, described as a romantic comedy.
Reilly called landing Keri Russell (above with Arnett) for the lead opposite Arnett “the coup of the year” (several other shows and networks were after her). And while Arnett delivers on the kind of character his fans have come to expect (i.e. a total dick head), look for this show to be “empathetic at its core,” suggested Reilly.
One critic asked if Fox felt any unease getting back in bed with Hurwitz, a brilliant writer who apparently was a last minute man when it came to handing in AR episodes. Reilly (left with House star Hugh Laurie at Monday’s upfront in New York) countered that he always did his term papers the night before no matter how many months he was given and he finds creative types in Hollywood are no different. “I will always take inspiration over efficiency,” says Reilly, who has (and has earned) a bit of that old-fashioned network-head swagger.
Fox expects to win the year among 18-49-year-olds for the sixth consecutive season–a record according to their execs. They got there largely due to American Idol. Yes, that show has slipped 9% in the ratings so far this year, says Rice, but it is still No. 1 and they expect it to stay No. 1 even after the departure of Simon Cowell when the season wraps in two weeks. No announcement on the next Simon–that will likely come at the summer press tour–but Reilly did announce that the show will feature 90-minute performance episodes and half hour result shows next season. Auditions begin in September.
Fox’s other new comedies are Raising Hope (left), an eccentric, blue collar family sitcom featuring Cloris Leachman in the ensemble. (Good thing she landed this before Betty White did SNL.) It hails from the dude behind My Name is Earl. Fox plans to move Glee to 8 on Tuesdays to create a comedy night and boost the chances of both Running Wilde and Raising Hope.
Mixed Signals, about couples who screw around, is a mid-season comedy pickup. Reilly says it boasts the writers from Wedding Crashers. They had writers on Wedding Crashers?. A new animated comedy, Bob’s Burgers, will join the Sunday sked come mid-season.
New scripted dramas include Lonestar, a Dallas-like soap with Jon Voight and David Keith among the cast. (The photo above, featuring Adrianne Palicki, James Wolk and Eloise Mumford, suggests there also may have a whiff of that CBC flop, Wild Roses.) Ryan Murphy, creator of The Shield, brings a new Chicago-based cop show to the network. Ride-along stars Jason Clarke, Jennifer Beals and Delroy Lindo.
Reilly was also excited about a big epic drama featuring dinosaurs and rocket ships called Terra Nova. Some guy named Spielberg (left) is behind it. It’ll be crammed with special effects and make Avatar look like In Treatment. No start date, with Reilly giving the show runners time to budget this epic.
Fox also announced it had saved Human Target and will pair it with a summer show that has yet to air: The Good Guys. The retro-ish cop series, which has a sneak peak Wednesday and stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, has the same kind of ’70s detective show vibe as CBC’s Republic of Doyle. Reilly has seen future episodes and likes what he sees. The two shows will run Friday nights.
Gone, of course, is 24, bowing out after eight seasons at the end of the month. Brampton-native Tyler Labine’s Sons of Tuscon is also toast. Wanda Sykes sounds done in late night.
Fringe is back, as is Lie to Me. Here’s the Fox Fall schedule below:

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR (new)

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM GLEE
9:00-9:30 PM RAISING HOPE (new)
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE (new)

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM LIE TO ME
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HUMAN TARGET
9:00-10:00 PM THE GOOD GUYS

SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED

SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM THE CLEVELAND SHOW
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD

Fox’s second season always kicks off in January with the return of American Idol. Here’s where the new shows will fit in. Note Glee moves to Wednesdays after Idol:

MONDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR (new) / RIDE-ALONG (above)

TUESDAY
8:00-9:30 PM AMERICAN IDOL Performance Show
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE (new) / MIXED SIGNALS (new; spring)

WEDNESDAY
8:00-8:30 PM RAISING HOPE (new)
8:30-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL Results Show
9:00-10:00 PM GLEE

THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM HUMAN TARGET
9:00-10:00 PM KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

SATURDAY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S MOST WANTED

SUNDAY
7:00-7:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (encores)
7:30-8:00 PM AMERICAN DAD
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS (new)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM THE CLEVELAND SHOW

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