Fox's 2016-17 lineup includes 2 new fall dramas and a comedy

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox's fall schedule will feel like a trip to the multiplex, with its two new dramas being remakes of the popular movies "Lethal Weapon" and "The Exorcist" and a one-time new version of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" booked for Halloween week.

The network unveiled its first season schedule in a decade and a half without "American Idol," announcing a total of 11 new series. They include a short run of a familiar Fox franchise, "24: Legacy," which will premiere in February directly after Fox's broadcast of the Super Bowl.

"Lethal Weapon," which will air on Wednesday nights prior to Fox's most popular show, "Empire," stars Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans, Sr. as the crime-fighting duo Riggs and Murtaugh. "The Exorcist" will air on Fridays, the story centered around two priests trying to cure a family of demonic possession.

"This is an intense psychological thriller that's scary as hell," said Gary Newman, chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group.

Premiering two familiar titles in the fall gives Fox a leg up on marketing since viewers are already familiar with the concepts, said Dana Walden, also chairman and CEO of Fox TV. The other new Fox series coming in the fall is "Son of Zorn," a hybrid of animation and live-action about a warrior from a faraway island trying to win back his ex-wife and son.

Actress Laverne Cox is featured as Dr. Frank-n-Furter in the new version of "Rocky Horror." Tim Curry, featured in the 1975 original movie, will appear as narrator.

As is becoming typical in television, fall is no longer the sole premiere season. Fox will sprinkle new series throughout the year, and promised that more than 90 percent of its schedule next season will be original programming.

"Our audience is not interested in repeats and that requires a tremendous amount of original programming," Walden said.

"Empire" creator Lee Daniels is making a new music-based series, "Star," which will take over the "Empire" time slot when the established show goes on a midseason hiatus. Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt are featured in "Star," which follows three singers trying to make it in show biz.

The drama "Pitch" is about the first woman trying to make it Major League Baseball, and its premiere will coincide with the start of the next baseball season.

Fox is bringing back "Prison Break" for a short-run event series. Network executives also said the stars and creator of "The X-Files" are on board to make more episodes, but they won't be ready for the upcoming season.

Midseason comedies include "The Mick," with Kaitlin Olson starring as a young hustler, and "Making History," a time-travel story about three friends from different centuries.

The reality series "Kicking & Screaming" will pair survivalists with nature-phobic partners in a competition Walden described as "'Simple Life' meets 'The Amazing Race.'"

"Bones" will begin its final season on Fox next year. Fox also defended the renewal of "Sleepy Hollow" for a fourth season despite some unusual criticism from fans who wondered whether it was worth bringing the show back after one of its two lead characters, Abbie Mills, was killed off. The renewal doesn't necessarily mean it will be the last season; Walden said there were still stories to tell involving the Ichabod Crane character.

"While there was backlash, there was also a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about the show being back," Walden said.


Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed to this report.