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Fox scrambling this fall, will air two cable series to fill schedule because of pandemic

Alan Pergament

Fox has figuratively waved the white flag this fall.

Faced with the shutdown of production because of the coronavirus pandemic, the network carried locally on WUTV announced Monday that it will carry two series next fall that previously were carried on cable.

The announcement that it will be carrying “L.A.’s Finest” several months after episodes appeared on Spectrum Cable pretty much summarizes the predicament broadcast networks are in.

In addition, Fox announced it will be carrying a National Geographic Channel series, “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” that aired on the cable channel this spring.

To say the networks will be scrambling more than Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen this fall because of the production shutdown is an understatement.

Fox announced two new fall shows, one less than CBS announced a few days ago.

Fox could be in a bigger fall predicament than its rivals because of its reliance on fall sports programming. It may lose the World Series this fall and there is no assurance that NFL games will be played on Thursday night or college football games will be played on Saturday night.

The news it didn’t announce Monday was almost as important as the news it did announce.

The fates of “The Resident,” “The Prodigal Son,” “Last Man Standing” and “Outmatched” weren’t addressed.

“The effects of this global health crisis leave no business unaffected. As a media company that prides itself on an entrepreneurial spirit and the focus that comes with doing fewer things better, we mobilized, swiftly creating an entirely new, original-programming lineup for the fall to share with our partners this upfront,” said Charlie Collier, CEO, FOX Entertainment in a release. “In remote meetings with advertising and marketing partners over recent weeks, we sought to listen first and understand each partner’s unique concerns. Our primary goal is to help them back to business, so in turn, the message we’ve shared is one of relative stability on FOX, combining the best of primetime sports and entertainment with which to help our partners and their customers back to market.”

Here is an edited summary of the two new shows premiering in the fall.

"Next,” 9 p.m. Monday: From creator and executive producers of “24: Legacy” and “This Is Us,” this event series is described as “a propulsive, fact-based thriller about the emergence of a deadly, rogue artificial intelligence that combines pulse-pounding action with a layered examination of how technology is invading our lives.” John Slattery (“Mad Men”) is a “Silicon Valley pioneer, who discovers that one of his own creations – a powerful A.I. – might spell global catastrophe. He teams up with a cybercrime agent (Fernanda Andrade, “The First”) to fight a villain unlike anything we’ve ever seen – one whose greatest weapon against us is ourselves.” Hmm. Just what we need – another potential global catastrophe.

“Filthy Rich,” 9 p.m. Tuesday: It looks like “Dallas” in the religious world rather than the oil business. Gerald McRaney stars as the patriarch in “a southern Gothic family soap in which wealth, power and religion collide – with outrageously soapy results." When the patriarch “famed for creating a wildly successful Christian television network dies in a plane crash, his wife (Kim Cattrall) and family are stunned to learn that he fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will, threatening their family name and fortune. With monumental twists and turns, ‘Filthy Rich’ presents a world in which everyone has an ulterior motive – and no one is going down without a fight.” I can already hear the protests.

“L.A.’s Finest” will air at 8 p.m. Monday as the lead-in for “Next.”

For those who haven’t seen the Spectrum series, the one-hour drama “follows Syd Burnett (Gabrielle Union), last seen in Miami taking down a drug cartel, who has seemingly left her complicated past behind to become an LAPD detective. Paired with a new partner, Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba), a working mom with an equally complex history, Syd is forced to confront how her unapologetic lifestyle may be masking a greater personal secret. Taking on the most dangerous criminals in Los Angeles while skirting the rules, and speed limits, Syd and Nancy become a force to be reckoned with – on the streets, and in each other’s lives.”

The third season of NGC’s “Cosmos,” an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson and executive-produced by Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga and Jason Clark, will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Fox said there will be new fall episodes of the reality shows “The Masked Singer” and “Masterchef Junior,” as well as the animated series “The Simpsons,” “Bless the Harts,” “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy.”

Things may get back to some semblance of normal in midseason when Fox returns “9-1-1” and  “9-1-1: Lone Star,” and all new seasons of the animated comedy “Duncanville,”  Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen”; a new comedy, “Call Me Kat” starring Mayim Bialik and produced by her and her “Big Bang Theory” co-star Jim Parsons; and two new animated series, “The Great North” and “Housebroken."

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