Less animation, plenty of reality, and another two-hour comedy block reduced — those are some of the quick take-aways from Fox’s 2014 fall schedule announcement.
First up: On Mondays, the network will launch perhaps fall’s most-anticipated new drama, the Batman prequel series Gotham at 8 p.m. followed by the sophomore return of Sleepy Hollow at 9 p.m. Fox has ordered 16 episodes of Gotham and 18 episodes of Sleepy Hollow. On Tuesdays, ambitious new reality show Utopia, in which contestants try to build a perfect society over the course of a year, will open for New Girl and The Mindy Project (which reduces Fox’s two-hour comedy block down to one hour, echoing a similar move made by NBC on its new fall schedule). On Wednesdays, Hell’s Kitchen will lead into new hospital dramedy Red Band Society starring Octavia Spencer. Thursday will pair the sturdy Bones with promising Broadchurch remake Gracepoint. Fridays has the return of MasterChef Junior, with a second edition of Utopia. On Sundays, animation no longer dominates — classics The Simpsons and Family Guy will now be intertwined with the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and new comedy Mulaney.
Also, Fox will hold for midseason new dramas Backstrom, Empire, Hieroglyph, and comedies Weird Loners, Bordertown and Last Man on Earth. The Following, American Idol and Glee are also planned for midseason. Event series Wayward Pines, originally planned for this summer, has also been pushed to 2015.
Fox is also leaping into the live stunt special game with Jump of the Century, where professional stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley attempt to jump a canyon on a motorcycle. The special will air this fall on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel’s attempt to jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. Another special will be Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution, where music artist Pitbull will be joined by some other musicians and celebrities to ring in the New Year live from Miami. Plus, there’s the previously announced musical Grease Live.
Official, and rather long, new fall show descriptions and some new photos:
LAST MAN ON EARTH
RED BAND SOCIETY
Before there was Batman, there was GOTHAM. Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker? GOTHAM is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist,” “Rome”), GOTHAM follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil, and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time. Growing up in Gotham City’s surrounding suburbs, JAMES GORDON (Ben McKenzie, “Southland,” “The O.C.”) romanticized the city as a glamorous and exciting metropolis where his late father once served as a successful district attorney. Now, two weeks into his new job as a Gotham City detective and engaged to his beloved fiancée, BARBARA KEAN (Erin Richards, “Open Grave,” “Breaking In”), Gordon is living his dream – even as he hopes to restore the city back to the pure version he remembers it was as a kid. Brave, honest and ready to prove himself, the newly-minted detective is partnered with the brash, but shrewd police legend HARVEY BULLOCK (Donal Logue, “Sons of Anarchy,” “Terriers,” “Vikings,” “Copper”), as the two stumble upon the city’s highest-profile case ever: the murder of local billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. At the scene of the crime, Gordon meets the sole survivor: the Waynes’ hauntingly intense 12-year-old son, BRUCE (David Mazouz, “Touch”), toward whom the young detective feels an inexplicable kinship. Moved by the boy’s profound loss, Gordon vows to catch the killer. As he navigates the often-underhanded politics of Gotham’s criminal justice system, Gordon will confront imposing gang boss FISH MOONEY (Jada Pinkett Smith, “The Matrix” franchise, “HawthoRNe”), and many of the characters who will become some of fiction’s most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged SELINA KYLE/the future CATWOMAN (acting newcomer Camren Bicondova) and OSWALD COBBLEPOT/THE PENGUIN (Robin Lord Taylor, “The Walking Dead”).While the crime drama will follow Gordon’s turbulent and singular rise through the Gotham City police department, led by Police Captain SARAH ESSEN (Zabryna Guevara, “Burn Notice”), it also will focus on the unlikely friendship Gordon forms with the young heir to the Wayne fortune, who is being raised by his unflappable butler, ALFRED (Sean Pertwee, “Camelot,” “Elementary”). It is a friendship that will last them all of their lives, playing a crucial role in helping the young boy eventually become the crusader he’s destined to be.GOTHAM is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment and is produced by Warner Bros. Television. Executive producer Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist”) wrote the pilot, which was directed and executive-produced by Emmy Award nominee Danny Cannon (the “CSI” franchise, “Nikita”). John Stephens will serve as an executive producer on the series.
RED BAND SOCIETY
What if a hospital was your high school, boarding school and summer camp rolled into one? What if it was the place where you fell in love for the first time and made friendships that lasted a lifetime? And what if it was all weirdly hilarious and the most fun you ever had in your entire life? This is the world of RED BAND SOCIETY. From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, starring Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “Fruitvale Station”) and based on the award-winning Spanish series, “Polseres Vermelles,” RED BAND SOCIETY is a provocative, unconventional and, at times, comic high school drama told through the eyes of a group of teenagers who meet as patients in the pediatric ward of Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles. The series is part comedy, part drama, with a tone that’s unique unto itself. Twelve-year-old narrator CHARLIE (Griffin Gluck, “Back in the Game,” “Private Practice”) is in a coma in the hospital. Charlie’s friends and fellow patients include JORDI PALACIOS (Nolan Sotillo, “Prom”), a 16-year-old who illegally crosses the Mexican border into California to seek out treatment at the renowned hospital. What he soon discovers is that it’s not his illness that’s going to change his life, but his new friends. Also at the hospital is LEO ROTH (Charlie Rowe, “Neverland,” “Pirate Radio”). At 16, Leo is charismatic and independent. But after living at the hospital for a year, he’s starting to lose his way. When he’s forced to room with Jordi, he’s angry and resentful, until he realizes they are more alike than he could imagine. The pediatric ward is run by NURSE JACKSON (Spencer), a caregiver with a take-no-prisoners approach to getting these kids through the most difficult part of their lives. Overseeing much of the treatment in the ward is DR. JACK McANDREW (Dave Annable, “Brothers & Sisters,” “666 Park Avenue”), the country’s top pediatric surgeon. Also attending to the patients is the naïve and gullible Nurse BRITTANY DOBLER (newcomer Rebecca Rittenhouse), who allows the kids to get away with things they probably shouldn’t. Among those taking advantage of Nurse Dobler is Leo’s best friend, DASH HOSNEY (Brian Bradley, aka Astro, “The X Factor”). Suffering from cystic fibrosis, 16-year-old Dash is determined to live every day as if it’s his last. Also on the ward is 15-year-old EMMA CHOTA (Ciara Bravo, “Big Time Rush”), Leo’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, who suffers from an eating disorder. Rounding out this group of patients is “mean girl” KARA SOUDERS (Zoe Levin, “Arrested Development,” “The Way Way Back”), a 16-year-old cheerleader who is brought in with heart failure and shares a room with Charlie. Daring everyone to up their game, she also goes head-to-head with Nurse Jackson. Although many young patients who are seriously ill make complete recoveries, that day seems a long way off for these teens. And as they confront questions of life and death which no one at that age should have to face, a kinship based on these shared experiences is created – a bond represented by the red hospital bands issued to them upon admittance. This is the story of the RED BAND SOCIETY. RED BAND SOCIETY is produced by ABC Studios in association with Amblin Television. The series is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Margaret Nagle (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Lie”), Justin Falvey (“The Americans,” “Falling Skies”), Darryl Frank (“The Americans,” “Falling Skies”) and Sergio Aguero (“No Reservations,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien”). Nagle wrote the pilot and developed the project for American television. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (GLEE, “American Horror Story”) directed the pilot.
When a young boy is found dead on an idyllic beach, a major police investigation gets underway in the small California seaside town where the tragedy occurred. Soon deemed a homicide, the case sparks a media frenzy, which throws the boy’s family into further turmoil and upends the lives of all of the town’s residents. Welcome to GRACEPOINT, a new 10-episode mystery event series based on “Broadchurch,” the U.K.’s critically acclaimed hit crime drama. GRACEPOINT is an expansion of the original series, introducing new characters, identifying new suspects and threading new storylines through the gripping narrative. Leading the investigation is Detective EMMETT CARVER (David Tennant, “Broadchurch,” “Dr. Who”), who has just arrived in Gracepoint to fill a high position in the town’s police force. That job previously had been promised to Detective ELLIE MILLER (Emmy Award winner Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”), who, in light of the tragedy, must put any resentment aside and work the case with her prickly new boss. Det. Miller must break the news to her doting husband, JOE (Josh Hamilton, “American Horror Story”) and her son, TOM (newcomer Jack Irvine), who was the best friend of the murder victim, DANNY SOLANO (Nikolas Filipovic, “Falling Skies”). Danny is survived by his grieving parents, MARK (Michael Peña, “End of Watch”) and BETH SOLANO (Virginia Kull, “Boardwalk Empire”), and his rebellious older sister, CHLOE (newcomer Madalyn Horcher), who has an older boyfriend, DEAN IVERSON (Kendrick Sampson, “The Vampire Diaries”), unbeknownst to her parents. All of Gracepoint is pulled into the investigation, including JACK REINHOLD (Emmy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Nick Nolte, “Luck”), a private man who runs the kayak rental service on the beach, as well as the local wildlife observation program, for which Danny volunteered. SUSAN WRIGHT (Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”), a mysterious woman, lives in the RV park near the coast, with her dog. The town’s minister, PAUL COATES (Kevin Rankin, “Justified”), becomes the de facto spokesperson for the community as the media descends on Gracepoint. Danny’s death also impacts tourism, with the decline in visitors felt most harshly by hotel owner GEMMA FISHER (Sarah-Jane Potts, “Kinky Boots,”), a vivacious Brit with secrets of her own. Also touched by Danny’s death is Mark’s apprentice at his plumbing company, VINCE NOVIK (Stephen Louis Grush, “Lucky 7”). The investigation is followed closely by the town’s local newspaper reporter, OWEN BURKE (Kevin Zegers, “Transamerica”), who is Det. Miller’s nephew. Owen’s ambition is fueled by San Francisco Globe reporter RENEE CLEMONS (Jessica Lucas, “Cloverfield”), who has a history with Detective Carver and sets up camp in Gracepoint to cover the case. The riveting crime series carves a powerfully dark wake through the town of Gracepoint with a startling conclusion, as the detectives piece together what happened on the night of Danny’s death. Produced by Shine America in association with Kudos and Imaginary Friends, GRACEPOINT is executive-produced by Anya Epstein (“In Treatment,” “Homicide”); Dan Futterman (“Capote,” “In Treatment”); the original series’ creator, Chris Chibnall (“Dr. Who,” “Camelot”); Kudos’ Jane Featherstone (“The Hour,” “Utopia”), John Goldwyn (“Dexter”); and Shine America’s Carolyn Bernstein (“The Bridge”). Futterman and Epstein serve as showrunners. Chibnall wrote the premiere episode, and James Strong (“Broadchurch,” “Downton Abbey”) directed.
From Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian John Mulaney (“Saturday Night Live”) comes MULANEY, a multi-camera ensemble comedy series about a rising stand-up comic trying to take his career to the next level and the friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around. JOHN MULANEY is a 29-year-old comedian working the stand-up circuit and looking for his big break. But life drastically changes when self-centered comedy legend and game show host LOU CANNON (Emmy Award winner Martin Short, “SCTV,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Father of the Bride,” “Primetime Glick”) hires Mulaney as a writer. Lou may be John’s entrée into the world of big-money show business, but he’s also a total nightmare. Still, the job represents everything Mulaney thinks he wants. But does he really? And, at what cost? And what does it say about him if he quits? And what does it say about him if he stays? And has Lou had work done? Mulaney’s life becomes a tug-of-war between the stress of his new job and his guilt over not being there for his two best friends and roommates: JANE (Nasim Pedrad, “Saturday Night Live”), a tightly wound, yet directionless personal trainer; and MOTIF (Seaton Smith, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell”), a powerhouse comic who shares nothing in common with Mulaney – except the world of stand-up. Rounding out this odd group of friends is ANDRE (Zack Pearlman, “The Inbetweeners”), a trust-fund baby who has a knack for showing up in Mulaney’s life at the worst possible moments. If Mulaney has one refuge from the chaos that surrounds him, then it’s his neighbor, OSCAR (Academy Award nominee Elliott Gould, “M*A*S*H,” “The Long Goodbye,” the “Oceans 11” franchise), a 71-year-old gay veteran of New York who has seen it all. Oscar is opinionated, refined, gentle, wise and sometimes extremely cantankerous, but most of all, he’s an oracle of sound advice when Mulaney feels like life has gone off the rails. A unique mix of ensemble comedy, stand-up performances and an observational point-of-view, MULANEY is a show about the big questions in life: how hard they are to answer and how easy it is to maybe just ignore them and pray they go away. MULANEY is produced by Universal Television, Broadway Video and 3 Arts Entertainment. The series is created and written by John Mulaney. The series is executive-produced by Mulaney, Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock”), David Miner (“30 Rock”), Dave Becky (“Louie”), Jon Pollack (“30 Rock”) and Andrew Singer (“Portlandia,” “30 Rock”). Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld”) serves as both director and executive producer.
From unscripted mastermind John de Mol, and based on the hit Dutch television series of the same name, comes television’s biggest social experiment, UTOPIA. Since the dawn of time, humans have always wondered: does a perfect world exist? Now, we get the chance to build one. Will it be ultimate happiness or utter chaos? Fifteen pioneering Americans leave their everyday lives and move to an isolated, undeveloped location – for an entire year – where they are challenged to create their own civilization from scratch. With no existing power structures and limited amenities, these “pioneers” will be faced with rewriting the rules. Will they choose democracy or dictatorship? Fidelity or free love? Will they punish or forgive? Choose religion or rationalism? Share with others or hoard for themselves? What conflicts will emerge, what leaders will arise? What principles will guide their daily lives and inform their deepest decisions? As the Utopians build the new society, every decision counts. Each must try to become indispensable to the group, or risk being exiled to their former lives and replaced by potential newcomers from the viewing audience who have been vying to join. With cameras following the pioneers 24/7, viewers can watch their society unfold, both weekly on FOX and also online. As they observe the inhabitants living together, and building their new existence, viewers themselves will have the chance to become a valuable and powerful asset to the community, and ultimately to question whether Utopia remains an elusive but alluring fantasy, or whether the pioneers have truly realized their dream. A Dutch version of “Utopia” has been broadcast and streamed live on the internet since January 2014. It has become an instant sensation, ranking as its network’s highest-rated unscripted premiere in six years, while maintaining its position as the network’s biggest show for every episode. “Utopia” has increased the channel’s key demo (20-49) market share by an astonishing 500%. UTOPIA is a presentation of Talpa Media USA. The show is created by John de Mol (“Deal Or No Deal,” “Fear Factor,” “The Voice,” “Big Brother”). De Mol, Conrad Green (“Dancing with the Stars”), Jon Kroll (“The Week the Women Went,” “The Amazing Race”) and David Tibballs (“Dragon’s Den,” I WANNA MARRY “HARRY”) will executive-produce.