FOX’s summer 2018 TCA announcements

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Looking ahead to new “FOX,” new comedy pilots, new unscripted series and more

FOX Broadcasting Company made a splash with a number of exciting announcements, panels and more at the summer 2018 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in Beverly Hills, California, last week. Here’s a brief recap of FOX’s TCA press tour day:

On Thursday, Aug. 2, FOX kicked off its summer 2018 TCA press tour appearance with opening remarks from Dana Walden, Chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group. One of her main points was about will set new “FOX” apart from other networks.

“In the four years since Gary [Newman, Chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group,] and I gained oversight of FBC, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and devotion of its executives and the trust they engender from talent,” she said. “All of that will benefit the network moving forward as it takes a greater role in a more focused media company, what we’ve informally dubbed new ‘FOX.’”

Dana said new “FOX” will be the only network to operate with complete independence. “It will have the ability to pick up the best shows from any production company, with no studio agenda. We see this as a great opportunity to get vibrant, independent studios back on broadcast.”

She also gave the audience a rundown of programming updates:

  • Two comedy pilots:
    • An untitled show that will be written and executive produced by Rob McElhenney, creator of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”; and Rob Rosell, producer and writer of “New Girl.” Kaitlin Olson (“The Mick,” “Always Sunny”), Leah Remini and Rob Riggle have joined the cast.
    • Bless This Mess,” a single-camera comedy from “New Girl” creator Liz Meriwether; and Lake Bell, who directed and stars in the show.
  • The returns of “9-1-1” (returns with a two-night season premiere following the NFL on FOX on Sunday, Sept. 23; and in its regular time period Monday, Sept. 24), “The Orville,” “The Gifted” and “The Resident” this fall.
  • The development of two “24” spinoffs, including a prequel and a concept of the series set in the legal world.
  • Three new unscripted series:
    • The Masked Singer,” a new celebrity competition series based on a hit Korean format. Nick Cannon will host, and the panel will comprise Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke. It will air in January 2019 on FOX.
    • Spin the Wheel,” a new game show co-created and executive produced by Justin Timberlake. Dax Shepard will host the show, which will involve a 40-foot wheel and cash prizes. The show will premiere during the 2018-19 season on FOX.
    • Mental Samurai,” a new competition series hosted by Rob Lowe. The show will involve contestants trying to answer questions with accuracy and speed on a special course. It will premiere during the 2018-19 season on FOX.

Dana closed her opening remarks by highlighting FOX’s progress in increasing diversity and inclusivity on its shows and within its organization. She shared that at the corporate level, 46 percent of FOX’s vice presidents and above are female; and on the content side, 49 percent of series regulars are female, and 45 percent are ethnically diverse.

“We’re proud to be industry leaders, though we know there’s always more work to be done,” she said. “And that includes expanding our professional training to support diverse emerging talent. For years, we’ve hosted writer and director labs. In the fall, we’ll expand our efforts with two programs focused on cinematography.”

Following Dana’s remarks, she and Gary answered some questions from the audience. This gave them the opportunity to underscore that new “FOX” will continue to be in the development business despite the network’s emphasis on live programming, among other things.

After the Executive Session was over, FOX hosted panels for “9-1-1,” “The Passage,” “Proven Innocent,” “Last Man Standing,” “The Cool Kids,” “The Masked Singer” and “Rel.”