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TV Column
Posted at 08:53 AM ET, 05/14/2012

Upfront Week 2012: Mindy Kaling, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears join Fox; ‘Glee’ moves to Thursday


Britney Spears will join ‘X Factor.’ (AP Photo/Leonid Naidiouk - ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Fox will plant four comedies on Tuesday — including one originally developed by NBC for NBC star Mindy Kaling, which will immediately follow this season’s most promising Fox fall launch, “New Girl.”

The network will protect its investment in flailing “Glee” by moving it to the safe zone, aka the post-singing show timeslot on Thursdays, where it will follow “The X Factor” in the fall and “American Idol” in the spring.

At its new-schedule unveiling to advertisers in New York Monday afternoon, Fox is expected to trot out new “X Factor” judges Britney Spears — and Demi Lovato, as part of an overhaul to Simon Cowell’s singing competition, returning to Wednesday and Thursday nights at 8. At a morning news conference, Fox suits said they hoped to be able to announce “X Factor” “tweaks” to advertisers this afternoon and refused to confirm the “tweaks” (Spears and Lovato), to the reporters because, they explained, they don’t have to. Much good will followed on the call, as you can imagine.

Kiefer Sutherland’s number crunching “Touch” is moved to Fridays to join “Fringe’s” final season and Jordana Spiro’s “Mob Doctor” will replace Hugh Laurie’s “angry doctor” drama “House” on Monday nights.

At midseason, Fox will introduce its new Kevin Bacon-chasing-James-Purefoy’s-serial-killing-cult “The Following” on Monday.


Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, L) who is called out of retirement to track down a devious and diabolical serial killer (James Purefoy, R). (Patrick Ecclesine - Fox)
“The audience has consistently asked us ‘Where is the next ‘24’? We think we found it,” Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly told reporters on that morning phone call of Bacon’s new 15-episode, highly serialized killer-chasing thriller. “We think it’s our next ‘24’.” (Apparently Sutherland’s “Touch” is not the next “24”; has anyone told him?)

Reilly called Bacon “the casting coup of the year.”

And, as promised, “Cops” is toast in the fall, and Saturday is the new “Fox Sports Saturday.” Fox swears “Cops” is returning in midseason. Put it in your calendar in pencil.

Sunday’s Animation Domination will start with the always hilarious NFL football and “The OT” in the fall, followed by “The Simpsons,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” “The Cleveland Show” will be back after football.

In “The Mindy Project,” which “The Office” writer/star Mindy Kaling developed at NBC for NBC, only NBC passed, Fox says she plays a skilled – thank goodness or it would not be a comedy — OB/GYN trying to pursue her dream of becoming the perfect woman, finding the perfect man and getting her perfect romantic comedy ending.


Danny (Chris Messina, R) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling, L) watch a romantic comedy together. (Beth Dubber - Fox)
“Ben and Kate” is the other new comedy rounding out the Tuesday four-com block. It stars Nat Faxon, of “Bad Teacher” fame, who was also the Oscar winning co-screenwriter of the George Clooney flick “The Descendants,” as a goofy guy who becomes the manny for his uptight single-mom sister’s kid.

Sometime during the season, Fox will swap out one of its Tuesday comedies to introduce “The Goodwin Games,” starring Scott Foley, Becki Newton, and Jake Lacy as estranged siblings who are forced back together in order to inherit $20 million after dad, Beau Bridges, dies.


Chloe (Becki Newton, L), Jimmy (Jake Lacy, C) and Henry (Scott Foley, R) in “The Goodwin Games.” (Beth Dubber - Fox)
“This is something we've wanted to do for a long time,” Reilly told reporters Monday morning of the four-comedy Tuesday block. Reilly, a former NBC programming chief, noted he worked with Mindy for years at that network. “Mindy is the real deal,” he said. “She can run a show, she’s charming on screen, she’s got a distinctive voice and she’s got a following.”

“Glee,” moved to the protected post-’X Factor”/”Idol” Thursday timeslot, is on the brink of a “creative renaissance,” Reilly said. “We’re very excited about the quality of talent looking to join the show,” he said, noting Kate Hudson has signed on for a seven-episode story arc and they’ve just signed Sarah Jessica Parker for a multi-episode arc as well, adding that neither would have been possible had the show remained on Tuesday — apparently celebrities care about the “Idol” lead-in.

Meanwhile, while the Fox execs on the call raved “X Factor,” the press seemed dubious, noting that it was viewed as a “troubled show” due to not living up to high expectations. But the Fox execs weren’t buying it.

“The fact that half the questions on the call have been about ‘X Factor’ is reflective of the interest in the show,” said Peter Rice, chairman of entertainment, for Fox Networks Group.

Execs also noted that in terms of fallen “Idol” ratings, despite being the highest-rated show on the network, “was a bigger drop-off than we anticipated,” according to Reilly. He said there will be some creative “tweaks” to the show, but none that could be discussed while the show is still on the air.

FOX 2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PM BONES

9:00-10:00 PM THE MOB DOCTOR (new)

(THE FOLLOWING joins in midseason.)

TUESDAY

8:00-8:30 PM RAISING HOPE

8:30-9:00 PM BEN AND KATE (new)

9:00-9:30 PM NEW GIRL

9:30-10:00 PM THE MINDY PROJECT (new)

(THE GOODWIN GAMES (new) joins in midseason.)

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

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM TOUCH

9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE (fall)

HELL’S KITCHEN returns in midseason.

SATURDAY

7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY (fall)

COPS returns in midseason.

ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF (new) will join late-prime in 2013.

SUNDAY

7:00-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall) / ANIMATION DOMINATION (encores)

7:30-8:00 PM THE OT (fall) / THE CLEVELAND SHOW

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

More from Upfront Week:

VIDEO: Check out previews of NBC’s new shows

CBS officially cancels “CSI: Miami”

NBC reveals schedule: ‘Community’ to Friday, ‘The Voice' to launch in fall

CW orders five new shows including ‘Carrie Diaries,’ renews ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Nikita,’ ‘Hart of Dixie’

ABC picks up more seasons of ‘Happy Endings,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘Wife Swap’

NBC renews ‘Parks and Recreation,’ ‘The Office,’ ‘Up All Night,’ ’Whitney’

An early look at Upfront Week 2012

NBC renews ‘Community,’ '30 Rock,’ ‘Parenthood’

‘Cougar Town’ moves from ABC to TBS

Fox picks up mob doc, serial killer show, Mindy Kaling comedy

Fox re-ups ‘Touch,’ abandons ‘Alcatraz’

NBC renews ‘Law & Order: SVU’ for a 14th season

NBC orders comedy about dysfunctional First Family

NBC picks up shows starring Anne Heche, Matthew Perry; plus, Ryan Murphy comedy and JJ Abrams drama

PHOTO GALLERY: Which shows are on the bubble?

PHOTO GALLERY: Which shows are already dead?

By  |  08:53 AM ET, 05/14/2012

 
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