Jamie Foxx, Hannah Waddingham, Will Arnett and “Shameless” producer John Wells are among the big names set to bring their talents to Fox’s 2023-24 programming slate. Whether the broadcast network’s next TV season will begin this fall, however, remains unclear.
In an unusual and astute turn, Fox opted to go vague ahead of their upfronts presentation to advertisers Monday, not promising new programming for the fall as the writers’ strike puts most productions on pause.
“Rather than announce a schedule today that we may not be able to meet this fall, we will hold back until we have a better handle on what programming will be available,” Executive Vice President of Program Planning and Content Strategy for Fox Entertainment Dan Harrison said in a conference call. Executives repeatedly emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic taught the network “how to pivot and be flexible.” Fox will be using the same strategy to respond to the WGA strike.
Fox has what CEO Rob Wade describes as a “really solid contingency plan.”
“Obviously, nobody wants this strike, and our thoughts go out to the writers at a moment,” Wade said. “We feel prepared to pivot as we need to. As you know, we just went through a global pandemic three years ago. We had original programming starting 16 days after the COVID pandemic began with our iHeart special.”
In the wake of the writers’ strike, Fox will be doubling down on unscripted content and will continue to rely on sports in the fall. Also, due to the production schedule around animation, the network is “really confident” it will be able to air new original episodes of its animated series “all year round.”
As for Fox’s live-action scripted series, the network did not complete any new seasons prior to the strike. When pressed on whether any live-action scripted series will air in the coming months, President of Scripted Programming for Fox Entertainment Michael Thorn avoided giving a direct answer, saying, “only time will tell.”
The network did unveil new game show “We Are Family,” hosted by Jamie and Corinne Foxx, and teased the premieres of long-gestating animated series “Krapopolis” — which features Waddingham among its voice cast and has already been renewed through Season 3 — and “Grimsburg,” headlined by Jon Hamm and already renewed for Season 2.
While the orders for previously announced new dramas “Doc,” an adaptation of an Italian TV series, and “Rescue: HI-Surf” from “Shameless” producer Wells are still in place, the network did not reveal the cast for either project.
The decision to not unveil Fox’s fall schedule — or the cast of its two new drama series — during the upfronts presentation is unusual. The event traditionally serves as the broadcast networks’ opportunity to boast about their programming slate, as well as showcase their scheduling strategy to potential ad buyers. An insider with knowledge of the decision told TheWrap that details on the fall schedule will be announced at a later date, pending the outcome of the writers’ strike. They also confirmed that the casts for both freshman dramas would be announced later.
“You can expect some announcements as soon as the strike ends,” Thorn said.
Every Renewed and Canceled TV Show in 2023
Decisions on the fates of sitcom “Welcome to Flatch” and animated comedy “HouseBroken” are still pending. The renewal of “HouseBroken” will depend on its performance as the series currently airs the second batch of its Season 2 episodes. “Welcome to Flatch” is in a similar situation. Fox said it was taking “a step back” on its live-action comedies. Following the success of Joel McHale’s “Animal Control,” the network wants to use the series to turn Fox into a comedy hub.
“As we wait for the strike to end, we’re going to look at our development and ‘Welcome to Flatch’ and make the best decision for that common goal,” Thorn said.
“Across every genre of FOX’s 2023-24 lineup, we continue to attract the brightest, most prolific creators in the industry,” Fox Entertainment CEO Rob Wade said in a statement. “As a result, our content portfolio continues to deliver balance and variety in its storytelling through the strength and stability of our returning favorites and tremendous creativity of our new series.”
NBC and CBS both opted for more traditional announcements of their new shows and fall programming, despite uncertainty brought by the WGA strike.
New series set to debut in the coming year include “We Are a Family,” a new music guessing game show hosted by the Foxx father-daughter duo. The series will feature non-famous relatives of celebrities performing duets with their hidden famous family member. The show’s audience will feature a studio audience entirely comprised of 100 contestants playing through multiple rounds of clues and gameplay to win up to $100,000 each by correctly guessing which celebrity the performer is related to before they are revealed. Celebrities appearing on “We Are Family” will range from musicians and professional athletes to actors and beyond. The show is co-produced by Apploff Entertainment and FOX Alternative Entertainment, which created the program. Jeff Apploff, Jamie Foxx and Matilda Zoltowski are executive producers and Zoltowski will serve as showrunner.
“Doc” is a new medical drama based on the popular Italian series, “Nelle tue mani” — which was created and produced by Lux Vide, a Fremantle Company, and featured Simona Tabasco and Beatrice Grannò of “The White Lotus.” The show centers on Dr. Amy Elias. After a brain injury erases the last eight years of her life, Amy navigates an unfamiliar world where she has no recollection of patients she’s treated, colleagues she’s crossed, the soulmate she divorced, the man she now loves and the tragedy that caused her to push everyone away. She can rely only on her estranged 17-year-old daughter and a handful of friends, as she struggles to continue practicing medicine. “Doc” is co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and Fox Entertainment Studios. Barbie Kligman serves as showrunner and executive producer. Hank Steinberg (Channel Road Productions) and Erwin Stoff (3 Arts Entertainment) are executive producers.
“Rescue: HI-Surf” is the latest show from Wells (who’s credits also include “ER” and “The West Wing”) and executive producer and writer Matt Kester (“Animal Kingdom”). The lifeguard drama follows the personal and professional lives of the heavy-water lifeguards who patrol and protect the North Shore of O’ahu — the most famous and dangerous stretch of coastline in the world. Each episode will feature the first-responders saving lives in the often life-threatening conditions of Hawaii’s Seven Mile Miracle. The show is co-produced by Warner Bros. Television and Fox Entertainment Studios. Kester created the series. Kester, Wells and Daniele Nathanson are executive producers and co-showrunners. Erin Jontow (John Wells Productions) is also an executive producer. Kester will write the first episode and Wells will direct the first two episodes.
As previously reported, “Rescue: HI-Surf” is being eyed as a potential franchise starter for the network.
The network also provided more details for new competition series “Snake Oil,” hosted and produced by comedian David Spade and executive-produced by Will Arnett (through his Electric Avenue Productions). Contestants are pitched unique products by convincing entrepreneurs — some of whom are showcasing real business ventures, while the others, known as “Snake Oil Salesmen,” push fakes. With the help of guest celebrity advisors, contestants must determine which products are real and which are a sham for a chance to win a big prize. In each round of “Snake Oil,” contestants choose a pair of entrepreneurs and learn about their extremely unique (and often bizarre) products through visuals, a custom-made infomercial exclusively produced for the show, and by quizzing the business representatives themselves. The show is produced by FOX Alternative Entertainment and Electric Avenue. Marc Forman and Neal Konstantini also serve as executive producers and Konstantini serves as showrunner.
Fox’s full 2023-2024 programming slate includes dramas “9-1-1: Lone Star” (Season 5), “Accused” (Season 2), “Alert: Missing Persons Unit” (Season 2), “The Cleaning Lady” (Season 3), “Doc” and “Rescue: Hi-Surf”; comedies “Animal Control” (Season 2), “Bob’s Burgers” (Season 14), “Family Guy” (Season 22), “The Great North” (Season 4), “Grimsburg”, Krapopolis and The Simpsons (Season 35); and unscripted shows “Farmer Wants a Wife” (Season 2), “Hell’s Kitchen” (Season 22), “I Can See Your Voice” (Season 3), “Kitchen Nightmares,” “LEGO Masters,” “LEGO Masters: Celebrity Holiday Bricktacular,” “The Masked Singer” (Season 10), “Name That Tune” (Season 3), “Next Level Chef” (Season 3), “Snake Oil,” “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test” (Season 2) and “We Are Family.”