Fox will set a police drama in post-Katrina New Orleans next fall and turn Fridays into music night with the “American Idol” spinoff that tries to confer stardom on a band, not just a singer.
And sitcom veterans Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton will co-star as news anchors for a Pittsburgh TV station in a comedy on Fox, the last of the broadcast networks to outline next season’s plans this week to advertisers.
Fox, along with CBS, is dealing from a position of strength. It will win this season among the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic for the third year in a row, by its widest margin. Fox’s biggest problem in recent years is finding momentum in the fall, when its prime-time schedule is frequently pre-empted for baseball. But this coming fall, it will have 14 nights of baseball, versus 26 last year.
The drama “K-Ville,” set for Mondays, focuses on a cop angry that his partner deserted him after Hurricane Katrina and willing to bend rules to catch bad guys. His new partner is an Afghanistan war veteran and more of a stickler for rules.
It will be filmed on location in New Orleans, said Peter Liguori, Fox entertainment president.
“I think the city itself has many, many stories to tell,” he said.
“The Search for the Next Great American Band” is Fox’s attempt to spread some of the “American Idol” success to the fall. That hit’s producers will be behind the new show, too. It will be paired on Friday nights with “Nashville,” a “Real World”-type reality show about people trying to make it in the country music business.
Another new Fox drama for the fall, “New Amsterdam,” has some of the supernatural elements so popular in Hollywood this spring. It features a cop who was born in the 1600s and granted immortality — until he finds his true love.
Fox is trying to appeal to viewers who are more interested these days in watching reruns of old sitcoms than new ones by using familiar comic actors in new roles on Tuesdays: Grammer (“Frasier”), Heaton and Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) of “‘Til Death.” Grammer and Heaton’s new show is called “Back to You.”
“The audience is watching comedies in greater numbers than they ever have,” Liguori said. “They’re just not watching new comedies. This is a new bounce on an old format.”
As it has in the past few years, Fox will completely revamp its schedule in January when “American Idol” returns. That’s when “24” comes back, too, and Liguori promises better news ahead for fans who have complained of a lackluster season.
“None of us were satisfied this year,” he said. “I think we heard what the loyal audience was telling us. It has really fueled the show to be more daring next year.”
Fox, owned by News Corp., will debut 10 new shows in total next season, four of them in midseason.