News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox Broadcasting unveiled nine prime-time programs for the 2013-2014 season, shaking up a schedule that has fallen into second place among key viewers after once dominating the ratings.
Five new comedies and four dramas will join the schedule, Kevin Reilly, chairman of entertainment for Fox, said today in a statement. The Los Angeles-based network and other broadcasters are showing their new lineups to advertisers this week in an annual event known as the “upfronts.”
Fox is seeking to rebuild a prime-time schedule that lost a fifth of its viewers, worst among the major broadcasters. “Dads,” the first live-action show by “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, features Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as gaming entrepreneurs whose fathers move in with them. Other shows include an adaptation of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and the sci-fi “Almost Human.”
“We’re making the biggest investment in original programming in our history to ensure that Fox continues to engage viewers and move the culture more than any other entertainment brand,” Reilly said in the statement.
“American Idol,” once the cornerstone of Fox’s schedule, has hurt ratings at the network, largely because of the “age of the show,” according to Reilly.
The format will again be retooled, network executives said, with the possibility it will only include three judges. Randy Jackson announced he will step down this year after 12 seasons as a judge. Reilly said the remaining judges -- Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban -- are “welcome back.”
The network also plans to bring back the real-time espionage series “24” with Kiefer Sutherland next May, Reilly said on a call with reporters.
Joining “Dads” on Tuesday’s comedy block will be “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, about a detective seeking to impress his new captain. “Enlisted” follows an older sibling who returns home to reconnect with his two brothers and lead a group of misfits on a small Army base in Florida.
Among the new dramas, Ichabod Crane in “Sleepy Hollow” is resurrected two and a half centuries into a future where the world faces destruction and he is humanity’s last hope. “Almost Human,” from producer J.J. Abrams, is set 35 years in the future, when a cop played by Karl Urban is paired with an android to fight crime and investigate a deeper cover-up.
Next year, Fox will air M. Night Shyamalan’s “Wayward Pines,” a thriller starring Ethan Burke as a secret service agent sent to a town to find two missing federal agents. The investigation opens new questions that may unravel his life.
Also next year, Fox plans to add the dramas “Rake,” a legal drama starring Greg Kinnear, and “Gang Related,” about a rising star in Los Angeles’ elite gang task force played by Ramon Rodriguez. At the same time, the network plans to air three new comedies “Surviving Jack,” “Us & Them” and the animated series “Murder Police.”
Fox also ordered the reality show “Junior Masterchef,” a cooking competition featuring kids.
News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, fell 0.8 percent to $33 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. The stock had gained 30 percent this year as of May 10, compared with 15 percent for the S&P 500 Index.
Fox will be part of a new entertainment company called 21st Century Fox that will be split from News Corp.’s publishing assets later this year. Murdoch will stay head of the business. After the split, Robert Thomson will be CEO of News Corp., which will mostly consist of the publishing business including the Wall Street Journal and New York Post.
U.S. television networks are introducing new shows ahead of meetings with their biggest advertisers to obtain commitments and set ad rates for the TV season that begins in September. NBC said yesterday it picked up three dramas and three comedies, including “The Michael J. Fox Show.”
Ad spending on network television is projected to decline 2 percent this year to $16.9 billion, and total TV advertising, including cable networks, will increase 2.8 percent to $63.9 billion, slowing from 7.1 percent in 2012, according to ZenithOptimedia, Publicis Groupe SA (PUB)’s research division.
FOX 2013-2014 SCHEDULE (All Times ET/PT) MONDAY 8:00-9:00 PM BONES (fall) / ALMOST HUMAN (new; late fall) 9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (new; fall) / THE FOLLOWING (midseason) TUESDAY 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 WEDNESDAY 8:00-10:00 PM THE X FACTOR (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL (midseason) THURSDAY 8:00-9:00 PM THE X FACTOR Results (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL Results (midseason) 9:00-10:00 PM GLEE (fall) / RAKE (new; midseason) FRIDAY 8:00-9:00 PM JUNIOR MASTERCHEF (wt) (new; fall) 9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW encores (fall) Late 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) SATURDAY 7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY 11:00 PM-12:30 AM ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF SUNDAY 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