Fox will use big names to try boosting ratings

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NEW YORK — Coming off a television season that saw its ratings fall by 20 percent, Fox unveiled a new schedule heavy on big names in front of and behind the camera in hopes of rejuvenating its prime-time lineup.

“We’re making the biggest investment in original programming in our history to ensure that Fox continues to engage viewers and move the culture more than any other entertainment brand,” said Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly of the new schedule.

With American Idol finally starting to show its age and The X Factor failing to generate the big numbers Fox was hoping for, the network is taking a more traditional approach to television with nine new sitcoms and dramas for the 2013-14 fall and mid-season schedules.

When it comes to scheduling those shows, Fox is being anything but traditional. As part of its efforts to boost ratings, Fox will launch new shows throughout the year, including some high-profile projects for the summer, which is traditionally a time the broadcast networks have ceded to cable.

Among the stars Fox signed up for new shows are ex-Saturday Night Live cast member Andy Samberg and Academy Award nominees Greg Kinnear and Matt Dillon. Director and producer J.J. Abrams, whose credits include Lost and the new Star Trek movie, and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane also have new shows for the network.

Fox is also bringing one of its most popular shows ever out of retirement with 24, the thriller that starred Kiefer Sutherland as anti-terrorist agent Jack Bauer, set to return in late spring and run into the summer.

Returning shows include Glee, The Following, Bones, The Mindy Project and New Girl, which will also get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot in February.

In the fall, Fox will premiere new dramas Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow on Monday, both of which are set in the future. Almost Human, from Abrams, is a crime drama about robots working in law enforcement. Sleepy Hollow is a modern take on Ichabod Crane.

On the comedy front, Fox is adding two new sitcoms – Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine – to its Tuesday night lineup and bringing back New Girl and The Mindy Project. Dads, produced by MacFarlane, is about two video game entrepreneurs whose cool lives come crashing to a halt when their fathers move in with them. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, starring Samberg and Andre Baugher, is about a quirky squad of detectives.

Fox’s big midseason shows include Rake, a legal drama starring Kinnear. Also coming in midseason is police drama Gang Related.

In the summer, Fox will roll out Wayward Pines, a miniseries thriller produced by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Dillon.


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