David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones by Art Streiber/Fox
In recent years the Fox network has ended each season on such a high (thanks to hot franchises like
) that we almost forget how badly Fox struggles to get traction in the fall.
Perhaps sensing another fall disaster in the making, with two dark new dramas threatening to drag down its Monday and Tuesday lineups, Fox has rejiggered its fall lineup by postponing the murky
(about an immortal detective), originally intended for Tuesdays at 8 pm/ET, until midseason. In its place goes
, shifting from a tough Wednesday slot (9/8c) where this appealing procedural would have faced CBS'
, ABC's high-profile
This makes Tuesday a pretty powerful night for Fox, with the often underappreciated
leading into the mega-hit
. Given the level of angst I tend to hear from
fans who can't help themselves from expecting the worst, having been burned in the past by Fox's treatment of their favorite shows, I hope this settles their worries. This is good news. Fox really is looking out for
best interests. (And don't worry that Fox year after year threatens to move this show to Fridays at midseason. I'll believe it when I see it.)
On the other hand, unless you're a fan of Fox's brand of reality TV, the network more or less goes dark from Wednesday at 9 pm/ET until Sunday, when the animated comedies kick in. Filling the
slot on Wednesdays, in the hour after Fox's
Back to You
sitcom combo, is Gordon Ramsay's
. Thursdays belong to
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Don't Forget the Lyrics!
(the second surprise-hit karaoke game of the summer to make the fall schedule, along with NBC's
The Singing Bee
). Fridays will eventually be the home of the docu-soap
music contest. Saturday, as always, is crime time, with
America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back
Is Fox taking the cheap and easy way out? Probably. But it's hard to blame them for going the cheesy game-show route on Thursday, after years of fruitlessly throwing expensive scripted series up against the other networks' big hits. Fridays have for years been a notorious graveyard for Fox, so these music-themed reality projects make about as much low-impact sense as anything (and if either one pops at all, it will be a step up).
is concerned, this moody high-concept drama is probably a risk whenever or wherever it airs, but it may stand a better shot at getting sampled if it's launched in the winter or spring, where it can be promoted and possibly positioned alongside shows like
and the eagerly awaited
Sarah Connor Chronicles
But if all of this jockeying merely results in
getting a cushier berth this fall, and the viewer getting a better two-hour block of Tuesday TV in the bargain, who am I to complain?