Faith, Media & Culture

The Fox Broadcast Network unveiled it fall schedule to advertisers yesterday. Read about the shows and view videos here.

As I did yesterday with NBC’s fall schedule, I’m indulging my network programmer  fantasy and offering my own out-of-the-box alternative to Fox’s plan (utilizing their own pilots)  which comes with the sensibilities of someone who believes that there is a moral dimension to creating popular culture.

So here is Fox’s announced night-by-night schedule (new shows in CAPS), followed by my own comments and suggested alternative approach. Just as yesterday, I realize my ideas are a bit out there and probably could not actually be accomplished this season.  But I think they’re worth considering for the future.

8:00 – TERRA NOVA/House (Mid-season)
9:00 – House/ALCATRAZ (Mid-season)

Comments: Terra Nova, the much-delayed Steven Spielberg big-budget adventure about a family transported back in time to the age dinosaurs is only slotted for a half season — indicating to me that the network still doesn’t feel its ready to keep up with a full season order.  Here’s where my first out-of-the-box idea comes in.  How about if Fox holds the show for mid-season but airs it instead on MyNetwork,  prime-time programming service that began in 2006 following the merger of The WB and UPN in The CW? MyNetwork shows (currently airing mostly off-network reruns) continue to air on many former UPN channels. The service could be re-branded as MyFamilyNetwork and would serve an under-served audience seeking more family-appropriate television.  More thoughts on how that schedule might look following my Fox rantings.

House is a well-written show which I have, nonetheless, grown tired of. Hugh Laurie’s performance is great (and Emmy worthy) but the nastiness of the character wears thin after a while.  Word is this could be House’s final season. It’s time — but the show does deserve a good send off.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – Glee, 9:00 – House
Personally, I’m no fan of Glee. As I’ve written before, I think it masquerades as a show about tolerance while simultaneously expressing intolerance toward conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives.  I have promised to check in on the show again (which I will do soon) but, for now, I’m not a fan. Still, the ratings are good and I’m not for censorship either. It would make a good lead in for the snarky House.

8:00 – Glee
9:30 –  Raising Hope

Comments: As I wrote yesterday, I think it’s time all the networks reconsider their embrace of single-cam comedies (i.e. The New Girl and Raising Hope). For the most part, audiences have simply not been responding to them.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – POWERS, 9:00 – ALCATRAZ/OCEAN BEACH (Mid-season)
Powers is an FX-developed sci-fi show about ordinary cops investigating crimes alongside superheroes. Ocean Beach would be my re-titling of Terriers, an FX private eye show that had a loyal following which, nonetheless, was too small even for cable. I suspect the title may have been the problem. I’d be inclined to give it another chance.

The  inclusion of those shows on my make-believe schedule brings me to the other half of my rather out-of-the-box suggestions for Fox.  Ala my thoughts on NBC yesterday, I would move over programming from its cable sister. Instead of competing with FX (thought not as directly as NBC competes with its USA and Syfy outlets), Fox should use the cable net to continually rerun its broadcast programming — thereby increasing each show’s cumulative audience.  Programming from my proposed MyFamilyNetwork could also be included among FX’s offerings.

8:00 – THE X-FACTOR/American Idol (Mid-season)

Comments: I’d go for that. Simon Cowell’s X-Factor is a likely hit and, of course, American Idol continues to be a phenomenon. The multi-cam I Hate My Teenage Daughter, about two mothers trying to raise daughters who care about other people, actually sounds promising — though I hate the title. “Hate” is not exactly an inviting word in a sitcom title. I think it subtly killed the old Chris Rock sitcom Everybody Hate Chris. What could have been warmly embraced by audiences as an African-American take on The Wonder Years was squashed by the turnoff of a title.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – The X-Factor/American Idol (Mid-season), 9:00 – Mothers and Daughters (suggested alternate title for I Hate My Teenage Daughter).

8:00 – THE X-FACTOR/American Idol (Mid-season)
9:00 – Bones/THE FINDER (Mid-season)

Comments: A strong schedule.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – The X-Factor/American Idol (Mid-season), 9:00 – Sons of Anarchy
I’d be inclined to tweak Fox’s plan a bit by importing Sons of Anarchy from FX and moving Bones to Saturday.

8:00 – Kitchen Nightmares
9:00 – Fringe

Comments: If anything, Kitchen Nightmares should be relegated to summer.  I’d move Fringe (which actually features a strong father-son relationship) to a better time time slot on MyFamilyNetwork.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – Justified, 9:00 – The Chicago Code
Two strong law and order shows, Justified (imported from FX) and the high-quality Chicago Code (which, in my view, Fox was mistaken to cancel).

8:00 – Cops
9:00 – Fox Encores

Comments: Cops, in my opinion, may actually be the worst show on television. I seriously object to the way it takes people in the worst moments of their lives and exploits their situations in a weekly entertainment format. I’d dump it as fast as it could be dumped. But, while Fox retains Cops on its weekly schedule, it’s cutting if follow-up America’s Most Wanted down to occasional specials.  AMW is about the closest thing to a public service on the Fox schedule. I’d be partial to keeping it going on a weekly basis.

JWK Alternative: 8:00 – Bones/THE FINDER (Mid-season), 9:00 – The Finder/Lie to Me (Mid-Season), 11:00 – America’s Most Wanted
If FX were indeed rerunning Fox prime time programming throughout the week, the cumulative audience would generate enough ad revenue to justify switching the network’s Saturday night lights back on.  Since Fox viewers are accustomed to crime-oriented programming on the night, Bones and its planned spinoff The Finder seem like a good way to go.  With Bones star Emily Daschanel scheduled to take a mid-season break for maternity leave, The Finder could then seamlessly slide into its 8:00 PM slot with it’s 9:00 PM position filled by Lie to Me, another canceled crime series Fox may have been wise to hang on to.  America’s Most Wanted, meanwhile, could replace Fox’s floundering late night comedy shows at 11:00 PM. That would provide true counter programming to SNL on NBC.

7:00 – The OT/Animation Domination Encores
8:00 – The Simpsons
9:00 – Family Guy
9:30 – American Dad/Bob’s Burgers

Comments: The OT NFL post-game show obviously makes sense. As for the night’s overall “Animation Domination,” I’m not a fan. If there’s a show worse than Cops on the broadcast schedule, its Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy. To me, the humor is much more mean than funny. Though The Simpsons can sometimes be hilarious, overall, the animated line-up leans too far in the nasty direction for my taste.  But the ratings for the lineup are annoyingly strong for now. I’d probably reluctantly leave it essentially  intact for now but begin canceling (and/or moving) shows at the earliest opportunity. I certainly wouldn’t be inclined to program McFarlane’s planned reboot of The Flinstones, which more than likely will result in a sleazified version of a good-natured classic. If the Friday night  combo of Justified and The Chicago Code worked, they could be moved to Sunday next season. They’d definitely be compatible with football.  Meantime, I’d hope that counter-programming on MyFamilyNetwork could offset the cartoon crap.

JWK Alternative: 7:00 – The OT/NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and ALLEN GREGORY (7:00 and 7:30, both Mid-season), 8:00 – The Simpsons, 8:30 – The Cleveland Show/Bob’s Burgers (Mid-Season), 9:00 – Family Guy, 9:30 – American Dad/Archer (Mid-season)
Archer is an animated spy comedy from FX that I’d throw into the Animation Domination stew. But, as I said, it’s the kind of mix I’d like the network (and television itself) to move away from.

Finally, here’s what MyFamilyNetwork could potentially look like if if were to launch, say, next January. The lineup would build on Fox’s established relationship with the P&G/Walmart family television project. The network did, after all, recently air two of the enterprise’s TV movies — albeit on slow Saturday nights.

The MFN schedule would also include family-oriented shows from Fox’s own development slate, including two Steven Spieberg epics (Terra Nova and Locke and Key), TV versions of two family/faith-oriented films and a fittingly-named classic game show. Fringe would also move over from Fox.

Also, while the current MyNetwork airs programming only five nights a week, I think this slate could induce affiliates to come aboard for seven.


Dana James, a public defender and single mother, takes her family to visit a mountain cabin they inherited from their eccentric uncle, only to find themselves embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
9:00 – TOUCH (Fox)
Kiefer Sutherland as a father who discovers that his autistic son can predict the future,

8:00 –  THE JENSEN PROJECT (P&G/Walmart)
From P&G/Walmart: After a sixteen-year absence, Claire and Matt Thompson reunite with The Jensen Project a secret community of world-class geniuses doing cutting edge research they share anonymously to help the world. With the aid of their teenage son Brody (15), they find themselves thrust into a suspenseful race to stop a plan that would allow a potentially dangerous technology to fall into the wrong hands. The Jensen Project is a roller-coaster adventure as Matt, Claire and Brody race against the clock following clues, thwarting evil schemes and rediscovering each other in the process. Ultimately, they not only fight to stop the rogue geniuses, but also discover the truth that healthy families are honest with each other.
9:00 –   TAGGED (Fox)
An hour-long dramatic version of a Fox comedy pilot about a  father (Gary Cole) and son working together at the LA County coroner’s office. 

8:00 – MAGIC EYE (P&G/Walmart)
A brother and sister discover a camera with magic properties.
9:00 – FAMILY ALBUM (Fox)
A father uses a camera to chronicle his family’s adventures.   
9:30 – COUNCIL OF DADS (Fox)
Four male friends resolve to help a deceased pal’s widow raise their two kids.

Singer Sally Denville (Brooke White of American Idol) and her test pilot husband find themselves with an instant family when they adopt the multi-cultural children of Sally’s Peace Corps friend who was killed in a tragic accident.
9:00 – DEAR ANNIE (P&G/Walmart)
Dramedy about the work and family life of  Annie Morgan Crane, marriage counselor and the popular host of a radio advice show. Based on the recent TV movie Truth Be Told.

Series version of a Rick Schroder film about a modern-day cowboy who is confronted with a daughter he never knew he had.
The faith-based 2008 film starring Kirk Cameron as a hero firefighter became the top-growwing independent film of that year. A TV version would make sense.

9:00 – A WALK IN MY SHOES (P&G/Walmart)
A Touched by an Angel-like show about an ordinary guy who teams with a mysterious woman with the power to cause people to inhabit the bodies of other people. 

7:00 – TERRA NOVA (Fox)
Steven Spielberg effort about a family transported back to pre-historic times.
8:00 – LOCKE & KEY (Fox)
Also from Spielberg, a sci-fi family drama about a family that discovers mysterious portals within their Maine home.
9:00 – Fringe

So there you go. Tomorrow, a look at ABC’s fall schedule.

Till then…

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11