NEW YORK – Fox will cut American Idol to one night for several weeks next spring, part of a reset for a struggling network that will have 12 new series in the coming year including the much-awaited Batman prequel Gotham.
The network announced Monday that it will also break up its Sunday animation block by moving in the critical favorite Brooklyn Nine Nine. Two of its Tuesday-night comedies will be replaced by an unscripted show that imagines people setting up a new society in an undeveloped area.
American Idol will air for some 37 hours next winter and spring, compared to the 50-plus hours that have been running for years, Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said. After the initial auditions, the series will probably air a two-hour show once a week.
Five of Fox’s new series already have a place on Fox’s fall schedule, with the rest to come later in the season. Gotham has the biggest buzz – Fox says a trailer online has already been seen 6 million times – and will air Monday nights. It follows a 12-year-old future caped crusader in a city teeming with crime. Most of the show’s characters will be familiar to followers of the comic book series.
The unscripted Utopia will air two episodes a week in the fall, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Other new series to premiere in the fall are the youthful soap Red Band Society, a 10-episode series Gracepoint, based on the British drama Broadchurch, and Mulaney, starring John Mulaney as a struggling standup comic.
Fox is canceling Enlisted, Dads, Rake and Surviving Jack, Almost Human and The X-Factor.
Other new series planned by Fox for next season:
Backstrom, a crime procedural starring Rainn Wilson as a detective battling his own self-destructive impulses.
Empire, a drama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong of Lee Daniels’ The Butler about an ailing hip-hop music executive whose children are bidding to inherit his business.
Heiroglyph, an action series set in ancient Egypt.
Wayward Pines, a 10-episode thriller from M. Night Shyamalan.
Bordertown, an animated comedy from Seth MacFarlane about two families living in a Southwest desert town.
The Last Man on Earth, a comedy set in 2022 starring Will Forte as a banker who is the only human left alive.
Weird Loners, a comedy about four people who have trouble maintaining relationships.