Fox’s new prime-time schedule embraces the old and new

Stephen Battaglio
Los Angeles Times

Fox is keeping it familiar and largely rerun-free for the 2016-17 TV season.

The network announced Monday that nearly 90 percent of its prime-time schedule will have original programming.

“Our audience is not interested in repeats,” said Fox Television co-chairman Dana Walden in a Monday conference call.

The network has long had plenty of first-run hours thanks to its reality competition series “American Idol.” But “Idol” is gone from the Fox schedule for the first time since 2003, giving it more hours to fill in a TV environment where repeat episodes draw scant audiences due to the other options viewers have.

The need to develop more programming made Fox more open to picking up new shows based on established titles that audiences are already familiar with. Fox will have new iterations of its anti-terrorism thriller “24,” a revival of the series “Prison Break,” and two shows based on decades-old films, “Lethal Weapon” and “The Exorcist.”

“Developing recognizable (intellectual property) was part of our strategy this year,” said Walden.

Walden and co-chairman Gary Newman plan to keep the schedule fresh by resting some programs and having limited runs for others.

In the fall, “Gotham” returns to Monday at 8 p.m., followed by a new season of “Lucifer.”

The new “24: Legacy,” which stars Corey Hawkins, Miranda Otto and Jimmy Smits, will take over the “Gotham” time period in mid-season. The premiere is getting the coveted preview that airs after Fox’s telecast of Super Bowl 51 on Feb 5, 2017.

Returning shows “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “New Girl” and “Scream Queens” will start the season on Tuesdays.

Fox has two shows slated for Tuesdays at 9 p.m. after “Scream Queens” finishes its run.

“Kicking & Screaming” pairs survivalists with pampered partners who overcome various challenges in a reality competition. Walden described it as “The Simple Life” meets “The Amazing Race.”

The other series is “Pitch,” a new drama featuring Kylie Bunbury as the first female player in Major League Baseball.

Wednesdays will lead off with “Lethal Weapon,” based on the 1987 buddy cop classic. Clayne Crawford plays the impulsive renegade Riggs while Damon Wayans takes the role of his by-the-book partner Murtaugh.

The Wednesday 8 p.m. hour will be the slot for “Shots Fired,” a 10-hour “event series” that examines the aftermath of a racially charged shooting in a small town.

“Empire” returns for its third season at 9 p.m. on the night. During its mid-season hiatus, the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, will supply a new music business drama, “Star,” with Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt.

The forensic police drama “Rosewood” will start its second season on Thursday at 8, followed by “Bones” at 9.

On Friday, “Hell’s Kitchen” will start the season at 8 p.m., while “Masterchef Junior” will return in mid-season.

At 9 p.m., Fox goes to the feature film well again with “The Exorcist,” based on the 1973 horror hit. “Sleepy Hollow” will take over the time slot in mid-season.

Fox will fill Saturday night with live sports events. On Sunday, “Bob’s Burgers,” “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and “The Last Man on Earth” will all be back.

Two new shows will get a shot in the 8:30 p.m. time slot that follows “The Simpsons.” In the fall, it’s “Son of Zorn,” which mixes live action and animation. Jason Sudakis is the voice of a cartoon warrior who returns to Orange County to win back his wife, played by Cheryl Hines, and son.