Fox Orders Second Season Of ‘Empire’ After Two Episodes, ‘Gotham’ & ‘Brooklyn … | News Entertainment

Fox Orders Second Season Of ‘Empire’ After Two Episodes, ‘Gotham’ & ‘Brooklyn …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fox confirms the best TV news of the day: ‘X-Files,’ ‘Prison Break’ could be coming back.

The move is partly surprising (in that it’s very unusual for a broadcaster to renew a series so fast, though it occasionally happens on cable) and yet not given the show’s stunning ratings this week. Producers capable of making “big, bold” series such as Fox’s freshman drama “Empire” are key to rescuing the network from its ratings slump, its top executives said Friday.Besides placing high hopes on a new show from “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, network executives told TV writers at the TCA press tour Saturday they are talking with Simon Cowell and the creators of past Fox hits “24” and “X-Files.” Newman acknowledged that Fox has been “ratings-challenged” the last couple of years, and admitted it would take “hard work” to overtake CBS, ABC and NBC. Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the longtime CEOs of the 20th Century Fox studio, last year were named co-chairs of the Fox Television Group that includes the studio and network.

— After the success it saw from resurrecting Jack Bauer and co. for another installment of 24, Fox is looking to bring back two more popular properties, the heads of Fox’s TV group confirmed Saturday. In general, Walden said, they would like to tweak the network’s image to include more family-friendly reality shows like “American Idol” and “MasterChef Junior.” But Fox also wants “a balance,” she said, and as if to emphasize that point, she and Newman announced renewals for three very different kinds of programs: the big music-business drama “Empire,” the “Batman” origin story “Gotham” and the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” Walden expressed optimism about working out contracts for another season of “Bones,” and said “we’re waiting a bit” on deciding whether to bring “Sleepy Hollow” back. “We’re making some creative adjustments (on ‘Sleepy Hollow’),” said Walden. “We think it may have become a little too serialized, so we’re going to give it more procedural content. The second episode then stunned the industry by rising in the ratings — which is a very rare occurrence, especially after a strong debut (Empire is the only drama to rise in Week 2 this season).

The show is a tricky balance.” The new co-bosses, who took over in a shakeup five months ago, said they are “incredibly excited” about their star-scripted show this summer, “Wayward Pines.” Michele was announced as a “Scream Queens” star Saturday, along with Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin and Keke Palmer. At the time — as I and many others wrote — this was seen as simultaneously a historic consolidation of roles and something like a major part of television’s future. Gotham has averaged a 4.2 rating the demo and 10.6 million viewers when including DVR playback, Empire has averaged a 5.3 in the demo and 11.7 million viewers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a 2.7 in the demo. But there are ongoing conversations happening.” Meanwhile, ahead of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s reunion on Tuesday’s episode of The Flash, Newman said Fox is open to discussions about bringing back Prison Break, on which Miller and Purcell starred as brothers wrapped up in a conspiracy.

The success of all three shows is much-needed at Fox, which ranked fourth this fall and declined more than any other broadcaster compared to the previous year. However, he admitted that news of the rumored in-the-works return, which some news outlets reported this week, was “slightly news to us.” But Newman said, “We’ve made it clear over the years that we’d bring Prison Break back in a heartbeat … Walden and Newman said their “first call” when they took their new gigs was to Murphy, who had moved into edgier cable dramas like “American Horror Story.” He said there is “nothing to announce yet” from conversations with Cowell, who is a symbol of Fox’s glory days from his time as a judge on the early seasons of Fox had modest success with a revived short-run series of “24” last year, and Newman said “we would love” to do it again – though here, too, he said nothing is imminent. Cowell, the music executive, former “American Idol” judge and producer of series including NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor,” which lasted just three seasons on Fox, is a “talent magnet,” Newman said.

It’d be the perfect event series.” The only wrinkle, of course, is that the return would likely have to be a prequel. (Five-year-old spoiler alert: Miller’s Michael Scofield dies in the 2009 conclusion of the series.) Do you agree? Drama series “Empire,” about a family struggling for control of a music business, exemplifies the kind of series that Fox needs, Walden said, announcing that it’s been renewed for a sophomore season just two weeks after its debut. “Fox has for a long time had a reputation for big, bold shows that break out but feel broad and appealing,” she said. “I would hope ultimately that the network is recognized for great showmanship. Empire is still at a stage when most industry insiders would say it’s too early to bet the farm on the drama, yet the first two weeks were hugely promising. Walden brushed aside a question about whether Terence Howard’s well-publicized off-air behavior issues had been a factor for Fox when he was cast in both “Empire” and “Wayward Pines.” The Batman prequel “Gotham,” another freshman series, and sophomore comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” also have been renewed, the executives announced.

Still to come on Fox this season is cop drama Backstrom starring Rainn Wilson as an irascible detective, the intriguingly high concept one-man sitcom Last Man on Earth starring Will Forte and the limited series thriller Wayward Pines starring Matt Dillon. One of the network’s big new hits is Gotham, from Warner Bros., and there’s also the aforementioned Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is slowly building an audience for itself on Sundays, sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy. As for the fates of some of Fox’s other dramas, the network plans to tweak Sleepy Hollow before making a decision on a third season, while Bones seems likely to return for season 11. “We’re at the end of our deal on Emily [Deschanel] and David [Boreanaz],” Fox Chairman and CEO Dana Walden said at TCA’s winter press tour. “We’re very hopeful Bones will return.

Officially, Reilly left his job, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where he was pushed out because his desire to turn Fox into a boutique cable network didn’t gibe with broadcast’s need to draw as big of an audience as possible. (Reilly is now running TNT and TBS — over on cable.) Walden and Newman’s attitude, as best expressed in this Hollywood Reporter profile of the two of them, is that broadcast can only survive if it pulls in the biggest audience possible, which means returning to some of TV’s most well-worn genres, then finding some new twist to put on them. Despite several domestic abuse allegations against the star, Walden insisted that the network’s history with the star has been positive — he’s also in the upcoming miniseries Wayward Pines — and that it was only made aware of the accusations in December (despite the fact that a Google of Howard very quickly reveals articles from last summer, and network background checks are surely more thorough than that). It has the executives believing that after years of crass, edgy programming dominating the reality game, it might be time for family-friendly spins on the genre to gain ground.

The gonzo horror series is one of TV’s hardest to classify — it’s caught somewhere between romance, modern cop show, ghost story, and period drama — and if that unpredictable quality made for a lot of fun in season one, the show’s all-consuming mythology (its ongoing, overarching story about battling demons from Hell) has, well, consumed it in season two. If so much TV now is a balance between telling stories that take whole seasons to tell, versus stories that are wrapped in a single episode, then much of it is also about balancing the medium’s potential against what viewers already know it does well, the future versus the past, in other words.

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