The fall line-ups: Fox and NBC bring quick surprises


This week, I'll have some quick stories as networks announce their fall line-ups. Here's the one I sent to papers this morning, combining Fox and NBC:

By Mike Hughes

This is a tough time
for Satan and a good time (as always) for doctors and anyone in
Chicago.

It's a mixed time
for science-fiction, a great one for Tim Allen and Andy Samberg, an
awful one for Clayne Crawford.

It's when the new
fall schedules are announced. NBC and Fox are already here (with the
others following in the next few days), with plenty of surprises. For
instance:

-- Fox has ended its
fascination with the devil. Both “Lucifer” and “The Exorcist”
are canceled; Gordon Ramsay, however, remains.

-- Two shows have
switched networks. Tim Allen's “Last Man Standing” jumps to Fox,
a year after ABC dumped it; Andy Samberg's “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,”
dumped by Fox, goes to NBC, where Samberg used to thrive on “Saturday
Night Live.”

-- All three of
producer Dick Wolf's Chicago shows will take over Wednesdays. It will
be “Med” at 8 p.m., “Fire” at 9 and “P.D.” at 10. That
nudges the 20th year of “Law & Order: Special
Victims Unit” to Thursdays; another NBC mainstay, “The
Blacklist,” will wait until January.

-- Medical shows are
prospering again. Mondays (already the turf of ABC's “The Good
Doctor” at 10 p.m.), will have Fox's “The Resident” at 8 p.m.
and “9-1-1” -- an EMT-fire-police mash-up – at 9. NBC is giving
its best spot – after “This Is Us” on Tuesdays – to “New
Amsterdam.”

-- Science-fiction
fans get mixed news, as always. NBC hasn't decided about “Timeless,”
but will have two sci-fi shows this fall; “Manifest” gets a
strong slot (10 p.m. Mondays), “Midnight, Texas” gets a weak one
(9 p.m. Fridays). Fox has “The Gifted” this fall, but delays “The
Orville” and the final season of “Gotham” until mid-season. It
also has no encouraging words about “X-Files” ever returning.

-- Fox is bringing
back “Lethal Weapon,” but with a major change: Crawford is out as
star (alongside Damon Wayans); Seann William Scott of “American
Pie” takes over.

Speaking to
reporters Monday morning, Fox executives insisted that one was out of
their hands. The production company was dropping Crawford for
unstated reasons.

They also dismissed
the frequent rumors that ABC dropped “Last Man Standing” because
of Allen's conservative political beliefs. A more likely reason for
the change, they said, was the ownership: Fox – not ABC or its
Disney owners – produces the show and benefits from selling its
reruns.

Another knock has
been that “Standing” draws an older audience – a problem for
any Friday show. Fox will accept that; it plunks the show back in its
Friday slot ... and follows it with “The Cool Kids,” with David
Alan Grier, Martin Mull, Vicki Lawrence and Leslie Jordan in a
retirement community.

The fall line-ups
are distorted by the move of Thursday-night football. Previously
shared by CBS and NBC, the games now go to Fox. Here are the first
two line-ups announced:

-- Mondays: Fox --
“The Resident,” 8 p.m.; “9-1-1,” 9. NBC -- “The Voice,”
8; “Manifest,” 10.

-- Tuesdays: Fox --
“The Gifted,” 8; “Lethal Weapon,” 9. NBC -- “The Voice,”
8; “This Is Us,” 9; “New Amsterdam,” 10.

-- Wednesdays: Fox
-- “Empire,” 8; “Star,” 9. NBC -- “Chicago Med,” 8;
“Chicago Fire, 9; “Chicago P.D.,” 10.

-- Thursdays: Fox –
football. NBC -- “Superstore,” 8; “The Good Place,” 8:30;
“Will & Grace,” 9; “I Feel Bad,” 9:30; “Law &
Order: Special Victims Unit,” 10.

-- Fridays: Fox --
“Last Man Standing,” 8; “The Cool Kids,” 8:30; “Hell's
Kitchen,” 9. NBC – Blindspot, 8; “Midnight, Texas,” 9;
Dateline,” 10.

-- Saturdays: Fox –
college football; NBC -- “Dateline” crime, 8; “Saturday Night
Live” reruns, 10.

-- Sundays: Fox --
“Simpsons,” 8 p.m.; “Bob's Burgers,” 8:30, “Family Guy,”
9; “Rel,” 9:30. NBC – Football.