Fox Will Fill Its American Idol Void With 24, Prison Break and Other Familiar Brands

Several movies get reboots as TV shows

Headshot of Jason Lynch

Fox's lineup is going to feel awfully familiar next season.

No, the network isn't fielding mostly the same lineup as this season; on the contrary, the network will be without American Idol on its schedule for the first time since 2002.

But going into the 2016-17 season, Fox will be filling that void with a number of shows that its audiences know and love: reboots and revivals of past hits 24 and Prison Break, and new series based on a pair of popular films, Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist. There will be so much nostalgia on the network that some viewers might confuse it with Nick at Nite.

"Next season on Fox, we'll have more original programming across our schedule than ever before," said Fox Television Group co-chairmen and co-CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman in a statement. "We'll use our strong established hits in the fall and Super Bowl LI in winter to launch a diverse slate of shows that are unmistakably Fox."

Fox is debuting three new series this fall (the same number as NBC, which announced its fall schedule on Sunday), but the network is saving its biggest guns for midseason. That includes its 24 reboot, 24: Legacy, which will launch after next season's biggest event: Super Bowl LI, on Feb. 5. The show will move it to regular time period (Mondays at 8, the same as its predecessor) the following day.

Undaunted by the failure of Minority Report, which audiences rejected immediately last fall, Fox has ordered series based on not one, but two hit films: The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon.

Mondays this fall will feature Gotham and Lucifer, which remain in their current time slots. On Tuesdays, a pair of returning comedies will shift to new time slots, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine kicks off the night at 8, leading into New Girl and followed by Scream Queens.

Broadcast's No. 1 series in 18-49, Empire, will remain on Wednesdays at 9, while Lethal Weapon—which Damon Wayans, Sr. stepping in for Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh and Rectify's Clayne Crawford taking over for Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs—nabs the coveted Empire lead-in slot at 8.

On Thursdays, Rosewood will be forced to go at it alone with Empire's help, followed by Bones, which shifts back an hour for its final season.

Hell's Kitchen moves ahead an hour to kick off Fridays, followed by The Exorcist, which follows two priests who are tasked with helping a family cope with a case of demonic possession (Geena Davis plays the matriarch).

Sunday will remain almost completely intact, save for new series Son of Zorn—a comedy about an animated warrior (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who lives in the Pacific Ocean, and returns to Orange County, Calif. to try to win back his live-action ex-wife and teenage son—sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy at 8:30.

Looking ahead to midseason, Newman told Adweek earlier this year that the post-American Idol dilemma "keeps us up a bit at night, thinking about how we're going to fill that time next year, but I feel confident we have the goods, and then we just have to be smart when it comes to scheduling." The network increased development spending 30 percent this year to help it chart its post-Idol path.

It hopes that 24: Legacy—a new take on the show and CTU, from the original creative team (including Kiefer Sutherland as executive producer) and starring Corey Hawkins—will be the answer to its midseason dilemma. It will air Mondays at 8, followed by drama APB (about a tech billionaire, played by Justin Kirk, who takes over Chicago Police Department's problematic 13th Precinct and turns it into a private police force).

On Tuesdays, The Mick—a comedy about a hustler (Kaitlin Olson) who has to take over custody of her sister's three rich kids after her sister and her billionaire brother-in-law leave the country fleeing from federal charges—will debut at 8:30. Then, two new shows will share the 9 slot: Kicking & Screaming (a reality competition that teams 10 expert survivalists with partners who are anything but, and sees who can survivor in a Fiji tropical jungle) and drama Pitch (about a talented baseball pitcher who becomes the first woman to play on a Major League Baseball team).

Event series Shots Fired—about the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a North Carolina small town, starring Sanaa Lathan and Helen Hunt—will take over the Wednesday at 8 spot, while Empire creator Lee Daniels' new music drama Star (about three singers navigating the music business) will air Wednesday at 9 in between Empire's run. "It feels very different from Empire. It's a different way into the music business," said Walden.

Fox's revival of Prison Break, starring Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell and much of the original cast, will air Thursdays at 9 during midseason. (The network is hoping for the same ratings magic of The X-Files' return this past season). "This new chapter picks up in current day in a faraway prison, and it's exciting," said Walden.

If The CW keeps DC's Legends of Tomorrow at 8 on the night, it could lead to a two-hour block of shows featuring Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.

Friday at midseason will feature the return of Masterchef Junior and Sleepy Hollow. On Sundays, time-traveling comedy Making History will slot in at 8:30.

The network also announced that its new movie version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will air in October. Laverne Cox stars as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, while the actor who originated that role, Tim Curry, is also on board, playing the narrator.

The schedule didn't include another live musical, but after the success of Grease: Live in January, "we're very interested in staying in this space," said Newman, who hopes to announce Fox's next live musical project in the coming months.

While Fox won't have another season of The X-Files ready for next season, "everyone is on board to do another installment of the show," said Walden. But because of the difficulty in coordinating the schedules of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and creator Chris Carter, it won't be back on the air until the 2017-18 season at the earliest.

Fox will present its schedule to advertisers and buyers at its upfront event this afternoon, which will be held as usual at New York's Beacon Theatre

UPDATE: Five days after unveilding its schedule, Fox announced a few changes: Pitch will air this fall, Thursdays at 9, while Bones will be held for midseason, still airing Thursdays at 9. And when Prison Break debuts in midseason, it will air on Tuesdays at 9, not Thursdays at 9.

FOX FALL 2016-17 SCHEDULE (New programs in ALL CAPS)


8-9 p.m. — Gotham

9-10 p.m. — Lucifer


8-8:30 p.m. — Brooklyn Nine-Nine (new time)

8:30-9 p.m. —  New Girl (new time)

9-10 p.m. — Scream Queens


8-9 p.m. — LETHAL WEAPON

9-10 p.m. — Empire


8-9 p.m. — Rosewood (new time)

9-10 p.m. — PITCH


8-9 p.m. — Hell's Kitchen

9-10 p.m. — THE EXORCIST


7-10:30 p.m. — Fox Sports Saturday: Fox College Football


7-7:30 p.m. — NFL on Fox

7:30-8 p.m. — The OT/Bob's Burgers

8-8:30 p.m. — The Simpsons

8:30-9 p.m. — SON OF ZORN

9-9:30 p.m. — Family Guy

9:30-10 p.m. — The Last Man on Earth




@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.