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5 things we learned at the Fox Upfronts

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Chuck Hodes

Empire‘s great for everyone, y’all! So is Ryan Murphy.

That’s the major point driven home at the Fox upfronts held Monday in New York City.  Here’s what else we learned from the network’s presentation held just a few hours after NBC closed the doors on Dollywood.

1. When a show like Empire rules, everyone wins. Fox toppers Dana Walden and Gary Newman insisted that, even though the Lee Daniels’ drama was a major boon for Fox, it also helps broadcast TV in general. Really, CBS! It proves that “broadcast is still the best place to launch an event,” Walden said.  She then introduced three of the executive producers of Empire (there’s more, by the way) who also reminded advertisers how accessible the drama is with all demos. Daniels spoke about how he was recently waiting to enter a Broadway play and he heard a couple of “white-haired” elderly women speak about how much they love the show. Really! 

2. Rob Lowe could be the man who saves TV comedy. He was not only terrific in a wonky bit about “online viewability standards” (nothing to see here, just a bunch of advertising speak, move along), he’s also headlining a clever comedy about a guy who thinks that by playing a lawyer on TV means he could work as one in the real world. That’s not all: he’s also moonlighting on an apocalyptic dramedy at NBC for midseason.

3. Maybe other networks besides Fox and FX should consider hiring Ryan Murphy more. The uber-producer looks like he’s about to deliver another addictive hit in Scream Queens, which he describes as a mixture between “Heathers and Friday the 13th.”

4. Anyone who can’t get watch enough cop dramas should keep their TV tuned to this network in the fall. All of the dramas have a lawdog theme that rely subtly – and in some cases blatantly – on old projects. Lucifer is Fox’s version of The Blacklist,  The Frankenstein Code feels like a grittier Forever, and even Minority Report – which is based on the Steven Spielberg movie that starred Tom Cruise — feels as much like the old Early Edition.

5. Maybe Madison Avenue is ready for the end of American Idol after all. When Newman announced that next season would be the end, more than a few suits clapped earnestly.

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