Category: Fox

Upfronts 2012: 5 buzzed-about pilots that didn't make the cut

Snoop dogg

Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the fall lineups on the major broadcast networks were updates about pilots with major stars and producers that received a lot of buzz in the last few months but for whatever reason didn't make the schedule. Those missing shows include:

The "Snoop knows best" sitcom: NBC had been developing a sitcom that would have featured rapper Snoop Dogg as a father. Deadline Hollywood last October reported that TV comedy veteran Don Reo was producing the pilot. Snoop had been featured in a reality series about his family on E! and has appeared in several movies and TV series. Still, it's hard to imagine the gangsta rapper being on the same network that showcases upscale series like "Smash" and the freshly scrubbed Whitney Cummings.

The Sarah Silverman project: The comic was developing a pilot for NBC about a woman reentering the dating world after the decline of a lengthy live-in relationship. The comedy was loosely based on Silverman's life, and Jeff Goldblum and Ken Leung ("Lost") were among the stars attached. With the failure of Chelsea Handler's "Are You There Chelsea?" and the renewal of the struggling "Whitney," perhaps NBC felt there was room for only one edgy female comic voice.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

—The return of Roseanne: One of the most-buzzed-about pilots reunited Roseanne Barr with her "Roseanne" co-star John Goodman in a comedy that would have featured them in a trailer park setting. Instead of playing a married couple, Roseanne starred as the manager of the park, while Goodman played a friend who also worked at the park. Despite the failure of her talk show and several reality series, Barr remains a compelling performer. Perhaps instead she can dedicate herself to her  presidential campaign.

The return of Martin Lawrence: Martin Lawrence, whose film career has sagged, was set to star in a sitcom for CBS playing a widower with two teenage sons who decides to become a police officer after he loses his construction job. The pilot always seemed like a long shot for CBS, whose comedies generally revolve around young, predominantly white casts. The network is the one major broadcast network that does not have a minorty in a lead role in a comedy or drama.

—"Devious Maids": One of the most anticipated fall ABC pilots was "Devious Maids," the follow-up series from "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and co-executive produced by actress Eva Longoria, about four Latina maids who work for rich families in Beverly Hills. Some observers speculate that the series' chances were not helped by potential controversy over Latina stereotypes.

Which of these shows would you like to have seen on the fall schedule?

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—Greg Braxton

Photo: Snoop Dogg. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images.

'American Idol' recap: The top three vie for the finale

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The three "American Idol" Season 11 finalists -- Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips -- took the stage Wednesday night to compete for a spot in next week's finale and, ultimately, the "Idol" crown. It was a surprisingly unexciting fight for the finish.

How could that be? You may ask. After all, the three remaining contestants are all talented, all have dedicated fan bases, all have a shot at the win. This neck-and-neck-and-neck race should have had us on the edge of our seats.

Yet many of the show's performances didn't seem to fully gel. There were, as Randy Jackson was wont to point out, few "moments." (Though I will say that the critique in which Jackson used the phrases "moment-moment" and "moment-moment-moment" for emphasis was itself a great moment.)

Each contestant sang three songs apiece: one picked for them by the judges, one they chose themselves, and one selected by "Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine.

Part of the problem may have been the judges' less-than-stellar choices, which in two out of three cases didn't do much to highlight the singers' talents. (Jennifer Lopez said there'd been a lot of back-and-forth, so perhaps they've overthought it.)

Part of it may have been that the contestants' "hero homecoming" montages lacked a certain drama this year. (Phillip Phillips Sr.'s heartfelt description of the pride he felt in his son for pursuing his dreams "with integrity and passion" was lovely, however.)

And who knows? Maybe the fact that it could be anyone's game doesn't add to the excitement, but instead detracts from it because we don't have a clear favorite to root for. (At least, now that arguably the best three have made it to the top three, I don't.)

In any event, even the judges, after rising to their feet to applaud Ledet for singing the song they'd chosen for him (it was their one good song choice), didn't feel moved to scramble onto their tootsies again until the very end. (Steven Tyler gamely stood after Sanchez sang one of his songs, but no one joined him, and he quickly re-took his seat.) They rolled out the superlatives, but then -- to paraphrase Tyler after Ryan Seacrest asked him if, in praising Sanchez, he'd just predicted a winner, which Tyler had also just done while praising Ledet -- don't they always?

Here's how the performances broke down:

Joshua Ledet
Ledet proved to be the evening's most consistent performer, kicking off the evening with a song the judges said would highlight his classic R&B style: Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind." Ledet gave a solid performance there. (Coincidentally -- or not -- the very same song was used in a commercial aired immediately thereafter.) Then Ledet pulled back to give a restrained, if somewhat schmaltzy, take on his own pick, John Lennon's "Imagine," later explaining that he picked the song after hearing it on the radio. And then he pulled out all the stops on Iovine's pick for him, Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama." His energetic bouncing was a bit distracting, as was all his jacket removal as the song reached its emotional peak, but he can't be faulted for lack of enthusiasm.  

Jessica Sanchez
Poor Sanchez got saddled by the judges with one tough song, Mariah Carey's "My All," which was pitched low for her and had a complicated melody and a lot of lyrics to remember, but she managed to pull it off. Then she tasked herself with singing Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" in front of Tyler, the man who'd made it a hit. Tyler often looks irritated when other people sing his songs, but in this case, he generously stood for Sanchez and told her she'd made the song even better. Iovine's selection for Sanchez, the Jackson Five's "I'll Be There," may have brought her best performance of the evening, no matter what Randy Jackson said, showing off her vocal sweetness and the power of her upper range. But Sanchez, usually a compelling presence onstage, seemed to lack a certain weight on Wednesday. Will that spell her doom?
 
Phillip Phillips
The judges picked Madcon's "Beggin'" for Phillips, Tyler explained, because they wanted to pull the melody out of him. But no matter how much the judges were beggin' for it, the song proved not terribly melodic in Phillips' hands. Of course, that didn't keep Tyler from predicting that Phillips could be the new Springsteen. Phillips' selection for himself, Matchbox Twenty's "Disease," didn't go much better. But on Iovine's pick, Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight," we saw what felt like a new side of Phillips. He sat still, facing front, unsmiling, with no guitar and none of his trademark leg moves. And he sang the melody faithfully, looking almost fearful in the process, as if he himself was unsure if he could hit all the notes. He did hit them. It was an honest moment -- Jackson hyperbolically called it "giant" -- and startling for its simplicity. Will the audiences respond well to this tame, tender, terrified-looking Phillip Phillips, as they have to him all season long?

We'll find out tonight.

What did you think of the performances? And who do you predict will be sent home?

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— Amy Reiter

Photo: Joshua Ledet performs in front of the judges Wednesday on "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox

Rumors swirl about Jennifer Lopez leaving 'American Idol'

Jennifer LopezThe search for "The X Factor's" new judges ended earlier this week, but the search for a new "American Idol" judge may be just beginning, if there's any truth to rumors that second-year judge Jennifer Lopez is looking to leave the show.

Lopez's one-year contract for $20 million is up after this season and she has not yet signed for a third season.

The singer is touring with Enrique Iglesias in the U.S. and Latin America this summer and there are reports of a world tour after that. She also reportedly wants to spend more time with her children.

This could just be part of a negotiating tactic, of course. While it's preferable for the network to have next season's contracts squared away before the upfront presentation (which was Monday for Fox), Lopez didn't re-sign with "Idol" last year until August. And though network execs reportedly wanted her for a multi-year contract, like that of her fellow judge Steven Tyler, she only signed for one year and got a hefty pay bump (from $12 million to $20 million).

Lopez appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday to promote the movie "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and told the host, "I really do enjoy it. Now this is my second year. I don't know if I can go for a third year. I miss doing other things. It really does lock you down, which was nice the first year with the babies being 3, but now they're getting more mobile, they're about to go into school. So I just don't know."

"Idol" executive producer Nigel Lithgoe told TMZ on Wednesday: "We want her back. I want her back.... It's a business. She has to weigh everything. I know she's gotten lots of offers to do movies and other things."

With a world tour a possibility, it could be difficult for the singer to be in the States for the "Idol" auditions, which start in the fall.

Earlier this week, Lopez was named the top celebrity on Forbes' Celebrity 100 List, citing her rich "Idol" deal, her various endorsement contracts, her huge social media following and her clothing line. It's possible Lopez is just using the moment to push the network for an even larger payday.

Fox declined to comment.

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-- Patrick Kevin Day

 Photo: Jennifer Lopez. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

Upfronts 2012: Watch previews of 'The Following,' 'Goodwin Games'

The Following
Fox unveiled two new midseason shows Monday: a creepy serial killer drama from Kevin Williamson titled "The Following" and "The Goodwin Games," a comedy created by Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris of "How I Met Your Mother."

"The Following" stars Kevin Bacon as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who gets pulled back into the game to consult on the hunt for Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), an escaped serial killer cultivating a following of like-minded killers through the Internet.

Of course, Hardy is a broken man with a drinking problem, haunted by his past. And Carroll is charming and British. And Hardy's got two younger, better-looking FBI agents at his side, played by Jeananne Goossen and Shawn Ashmore.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

Creator Kevin Williamson knows creepy: He wrote the "Scream" movies, after all. The only question is whether this series will be one of his hits (like "The Vampire Diaries") or misses (like "Wasteland").

"The Goodwin Games" stars Scott Foley, Becki Newton and Jake Lacy as three often combative siblings who stand to inherit their deceased father's $23-million fortune -- if they can learn to get along. They have to make it through a series of challenges (including a uniquely tailored game of Trivial Pursuit) in order to win the money.

Beau Bridges plays their (deceased) dad, and Melissa Tang plays the family's attorney.

Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris of "How I Met Your Mother" created the series, with director Peyton Reed as executive producer.

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Photo: Kevin Bacon in "The Following." Credit: Fox

Upfronts 2012: Watch a preview of 'The Mob Doctor'

The Mob Doctor
Fox's only new drama for the fall takes two familiar genres (the medical drama and the mob drama) and smooshes them together to create something new. The mobical drama?

"The Mob Doctor" stars Jordana Spiro as a promising young physician who finds herself involved with made men from the South Side of Chicago when she has to take them on as patients to pay off her brother's gambling debts. So the young lady doc spends her days in the ER and her nights patching up wiseguys. Of course no one on the hospital realizes what she's up to.

The series was created by TV writers Josh Berman and Rob Wright, most recently of the series "Drop Dead Diva," and was executive produced by director Michael Dinner.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

William Forsythe plays the head mobster, Constantine Alexander, Zach Gilford plays her boyfriend and James Carpinello plays her ex-boyfriend and current mob guy, Franco.

The series airs at 9 p.m. Mondays.

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Photo: Jordana Spiro is "The Mob Doctor." Credit: Nathaniel Bell / Fox.

Upfronts 2012: Watch previews of 'The Mindy Project' and 'Ben and Kate'

The Mindy Project

Fox unveiled its new fall shows on Monday afternoon, including two new comedies that are set to debut this fall.

Mindy Kaling is leaving "The Office" for her own comedy series, called "The Mindy Project."

In this series, which she created, Kaling plays OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri, who's on the hunt for a man to share her life while simultaneously dealing with the kooky personalities in her medical practice, including self-absorbed fellow doctor Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks), whom Mindy keeps ending up with, and hot-headed Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), who steals her patients.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

The series also stars Zoe Jarman, Anna Camp and Dana DeLorenzo. It will air at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

"Ben and Kate" stars newcomer Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon (who recently won an Oscar for co-writing "The Descendents") as a brother and sister attempting to make ends meet while raising the sister's young daughter (played by Maggie Jones).

Since this is a comedy, the siblings are an odd couple: The brother is one of those wacky schemers and the sister is the level-headed single mother who never finished college because she got pregnant.

The series was created by "What Happens in Vegas" writer Dana Fox and executive produced by director Jake Kasdan. It will air 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

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Upfronts 2012: Britney Spears and Demi Lovato officially join 'X Factor'

Photo: Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader in "The Mindy Project." Credit: Beth Dubber / Fox.

Upfronts 2012: Britney Spears and Demi Lovato officially join 'X Factor'

Britney spears x factorIt's true, "The X Factor" fans. Britney and Demi are jumping on board.

Fox announced at its upfront presentation that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are officially joining Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the judge's panel of the singing reality series.

The singers joined Cowell and Reid on stage in New York, and both said they were thrilled to join the series. “I'm ready to find the true star,” Spears said, while Lovato said she was "stoked."

Cowell tweeted a photo of himself with the judges, after the jump.

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Fall TV: Fox looks to laughs to boost ratings

Mindy Kaling is coming to Fox
NEW YORK -- Coming off a television season that featured a few high-profile flops, such as the expensive dinosaur drama "Terra Nova" and the time-traveling crime show "Alcatraz," as well as somewhat disappointing ratings for its musical talent show "The X Factor," Fox is betting on more traditional programming for the new season.

Fox saw its prime-time audience drop 8% to 8.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen. While it is still No. 1 in the coveted 18-49 demographic, its ratings there were off by 9%.

The network on Monday unveiled a lineup to advertisers for the 2012-13 season that includes three new comedies and two new dramas as well as an overhaul of its Saturday night schedule. Also, the musical comedy "Glee" is being uprooted from its Tuesday home and moved to Thursdays. While "Glee" is still one of Fox's strongest shows, its ratings have sagged somewhat this season.

VIDEO: Watch 2012 TV previews

Getting a makeover is the musical talent show "The X Factor." While the show had solid ratings with an audience of more than 12 million viewers, given the hype about it from both Fox and its lead judge Simon Cowell, its numbers were viewed by the industry as a letdown. The network tossed out some of the judges, including Paula Abdul, and speculation is rampant that pop singer Britney Spears and teen star Demi Lovato will be joining Cowell and record executive L.A. Reid.

"We think the mix can be more entertaining and more exciting," said Peter Rice, the chairman of entertainment for the Fox Networks Group. "The X Factor" will face increased competition come September from "The Voice," which NBC is putting on in the fall for the first time. Rice said he thought the showdown would be good publicity for both shows. "We think it's going to be a big spotlight in the fall."

Also coming in for repairs will be "American Idol." While the godfather of singing shows is still formidable, its ratings took a tumble this year that caught the network off-guard. Last season, "American Idol" averaged over 24 million viewers per episode, while this season its audience has fallen to about 19 million.

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Britney Spears and Demi Lovato poised to join 'X Factor'

It looks like Britney Spears Demi Lovato are on their way to the judges panel on Fox's "The X Factor"
After weeks of speculation, it looks like Britney Spears and Demi Lovato are on their way to the judges panel on Fox's "The X Factor."

Spears has been a rumored front-runner to join the series since news broke back in March that she was in negotiations for the gig. Lovato's name has been swirling around since earlier this month.

Fox executives wouldn't comment on the speculation in a conference call with reporters Monday morning (they also didn't exactly deny it), but the network is expected to make it official during its upfront presentation to advertisers Monday afternoon.

Many candidates were reportedly discussed as possible replacements for Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul, including Miley Cyrus, Fergie, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey. Scherzinger and Abdul were victims of the major overhaul after the singing competition's first season.

If Spears does join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the judges panel, it would pit her against fellow "Mickey Mouse Club" alum Christina Aguilera, who is a judge/mentor on "The Voice."

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Fall TV: Fox unveils 2012-13 schedule; "Glee" moves to Thursdays

-- Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: Britney Spears in Beverly Hills in February. Credit: Getty Images

Fall TV: Fox unveils 2012-13 schedule; 'Glee' moves to Thursdays

Glee moves to Thursdays
Fox added three new comedies and two dramas to its slate for the 2012-13 season--including "The Office" alum Mindy Kaling's new laffer and the Kevin Bacon-led thriller "The Following"--and in the process moves "Glee" and "Touch" to new nights. So where will they land?

"The Mindy Project," which stars Kaling as an OBGYN, will help beef up the network's Tuesday comedy block along with new ensemble comedy "Ben and Kate."  The duo will join "New Girl" and "Raising Hope," which means "Glee" is moving to Thursday nights--creating a musical block, with "The X Factor" as its lead-in.

And the Kiefer Sutherland-helmed drama "Touch" makes the move from Thursdays to Fridays, serving as a lead-in to fellow sci-fi drama "Fringe." Will the series find the magic numbers in its new slot or will its ratings continue to decline? The show averaged 8.37 million its first season, with a 2.49 in the 18-49 demo. It'll find itself up against NBC comedies "Community" and "Whitney."

Meanwhile, new series "The Mob Doctor" inherits the medical drama space once occupied by "House" on Mondays. 

For those looking to lessen their degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, you'll have to wait until midseason, when "The Following," from "The Vampire Diaries" executive producer Kevin Williamson makes its debut; Bacon stars as a former FBI detective on the hunt for a serial killer and his posse of followers. Also, making its debut midseason is the new comedy "The Goodwin Games," which centers on three siblings poised to inherit a large fortune--if they pass a series of unique challenges.

Here's a look at Fox's 2012-2013 primetime schedule.

(All Times ET/PT)

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‘Fringe’ recap: The end … for now

FRINGE_422_5

Well done, “Fringe.”

Season 4 was probably one of the most daring risks in television. The kind of bold leap only a show teetering on the edge could make: erasing its own history. Though “Fringe” took that experiment and used it to explore its past. The details may have changed, but the themes of scientific ethics and how far you will go for the people you love came through even stronger, building to this week’s finale. It was the culmination of the past four years, and it came together in a way that was dramatic, personal, surprising and ultimately uplifting, a true gift to the fans who stuck with this show through its often rocky life.

The past few episodes brought to the foreground story lines that have been developing since the first season. There was David Robert Jones’ evil plot, which turned out to be William Bell’s evil plot, which turned out to be Walter’s evil plot. Olivia learned the full extent of the powers given to her by the Cortexiphan and why she was given them in the first place. Plus we saw the true purpose of a few early “Fringe” cases like the were-porcupines. Everything was connected, and it all built from one of the oldest concerns of dabbling in Fringe Science: playing God.

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‘Fringe’ Friday: Show runners talk Walter, Bell, Season 4 finale

FRINGE_419_3
Tonight the fourth season of “Fringe” comes to a close. I got the opportunity to watch the finale a bit early, and I can honestly say it does not disappoint. It’s a conclusion that could easily have been the ending of the series, but also drums up excitement for what the fifth and final season of “Fringe” will bring.

Show runners and executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner took a few minutes out of their hectic Friday to chat with me about the ending of this chapter and the roads that brought “Fringe” there.

Continue reading »
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