At today’s TCA presentation, Fox dropped some major news that included, among other things, confirmed renewals for Empire, Gotham and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as well as a casting update for Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens.
In addition, the network also announced leads and a date for its upcoming live production of musical classic Grease.
The renewals don’t come as much as a surprise considering Gotham had already received an increased season order from 16 episodes to 22 at the end of last year, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been doing stable ratings after The Simpsons since moving to Sundays at the start of season 2.
However, the biggest non-shocker is Empire, which, in addition to tying How to Get Away with Murder for top new show of the season, surpassed those numbers in its second episode (scoring a massive 4.0 in the 18-49 demo), essentially securing its future for at least the next two years.
As for the cast of Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series, Scream Queens - which had already locked down Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts - the network announced that Lea Michele (Glee), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee) would join the first season’s roster with Ariana Grande guest-starring. At the moment, the roles of each of the cast members are being kept under wraps, though we expect that to change in the coming months as production gets underway this spring.
As previously reported, the first season will “revolve around a college campus rocked by a series of murders,” with fifteen episodes set to debut.
Finally, despite the poor reception of NBC’s Peter Pan Live, Fox is still moving forward with its rumored live production of Grease with an air date and starring cast now confirmed. According to the network, the event will air Sunday, January 31st, 2016 and star Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens in roles of “Sandy” and “Rizzo” respectively. No other information has been released about the musical at this time.
Overall, this is a major slate of news that only serves as the tip of the iceberg with confirmed talks also taking place for revival of The X-Files, in addition to a renewed possibility of more 24 but without Kiefer Sutherland in a starring role.
Essentially, Fox is very much focused on re-establishing its brand this year after spending the last few years in a dry-spell that included missed opportunities with the likes of Terra Nova, The Mob Doctor and Red Band Society.
However, the way they get to that re-establishment is a slippery slope that may soon include a major sense of meddling with existing shows like Sleepy Hollow that may soon leave its serialized nature behind to execs at the network.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Sundays @8:30pm, Gotham airs Mondays @8pm, and Empire airs Wednesdays @9pm. Stay tuned for more news about Scream Queens.