West Philadelphia’s Lee Daniels will get a sixth and final season to wrap up the saga of music mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and his fractious family on Fox’s Empire, but his other music-driven drama, Star, won’t be back.
“We really are trying to go out guns ablazing,” Fox entertainment CEO Charlie Collier told reporters in a conference call Monday morning, touting Empire’s move to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, where it will follow The Resident.
That will put Empire opposite NBC’s This Is Us, the tear-stained hit from University of Pennsylvania grad Dan Fogelman that the network on Sunday announced had been renewed for three more seasons -- or about three-quarters of a term for the show’s newly elected Philadelphia City Council member, Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown).
Collier tried to sidestep questions about whether Jussie Smollett, who played Lucious’ son Jamal, might be back for the final season, eventually repeating what had already been said, that there’s an option to use the actor, who’s been accused by Chicago officials of lying about a racially motivated attack, but no plans at the moment to do so.
NBC and Fox on Monday were kicking off a week in which broadcast programmers present their 2019-20 schedules to advertisers in hopes of getting them to commit upfront to buying commercial time.
Among the announcements by Fox, which has ordered four new comedies and six new dramas, only three of which will be on in the fall, is that its Ryan Murphy series 9-1-1 will get a Texas-set spinoff, 9-1-1: Lone Star, starring Rob Lowe as a New York police officer who moves to Austin. That’s scheduled for a two-night premiere on Jan. 19 and 20, after the NFC championship game.
The Masked Singer will launch its third season after the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. (Its second season premieres this fall.)
NBC plans to add four new dramas and four comedies over the course of the season, though only three new shows are scheduled for fall.
Upfronts week used to be when viewers found out which of their favorite shows would and wouldn’t be back, but announcements of cancellations and renewals now trickle out for months, and they reached a flood in the last few days.
As of Sunday, NBC still hadn’t decided whether to renew Abby’s, A.P. Bio, The Enemy Within, The InBetween (which doesn’t premiere till May 29), The Titan Games, and The Village. You can say goodbye, though, to Midnight, Texas, as well as to I Feel Bad, Marlon, and Trial and Error.
New NBC shows for the fall include Bluff City Law, a drama starring Jimmy Smits as the head of a Memphis law firm who convinces his estranged daughter (Caitlin McGee) to rejoin him; Perfect Harmony, a comedy about a church choir that stars Bradley Whitford and Anna Camp; and Sunnyside, a comedy starring Kal Penn as a disgraced New York City politician who gets hired by a group of immigrants to help them study for the U.S. citizenship test.
Besides This Is Us, returning shows, some of which won’t be on NBC till later in the season, include America’s Got Talent, The Blacklist, Blindspot, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., Dateline NBC, Ellen’s Game of Games, Good Girls, The Good Place, Hollywood Game Night, Law & Order: SVU, Manifest, NBC Sunday Night Football, New Amsterdam, Superstore, The Voice, The Wall, Will & Grace, and World of Dance.
At Fox, whose Fridays come fall will be devoted to WWE’s Smackdown Live, Star isn’t the only casualty. Also being shown the door are Proven Innocent, Lethal Weapon, The Cool Kids, The Passage, The Gifted, and Rel. Gotham wrapped up its five-season run last month.
New shows for fall include Prodigal Son, a drama with what Fox calls a “darkly comedic tone,” starring Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) as the profiler son of a convicted serial killer (Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex); Not Just Me, a drama about an only child (Brittany Snow, American Dreams) who acquires new siblings after it’s discovered that her fertility doctor father (Timothy Hutton) used his own sperm to father as many as a hundred children; and Bless the Harts, an animated comedy about a Southern family whose stars include Saturday Night Live veterans Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.