Major television networks Fox and NBC are shaking up their schedules for the 2014–15 season. Here's a guide to the networks' plans involving new shows, series cancellations and event programming.
Fox cutting back 'Idol'
Fox will cut "American Idol" to one night for several weeks next spring, part of a reset for a struggling network that will have 11 new series in the coming year, including the much-awaited "Batman" prequel, "Gotham."
The network also will break up its Sunday animation block by moving in the critical favorite "Brooklyn Nine Nine." It is replacing two of its Tuesday-night comedies with an unscripted show that imagines people setting up a new society in an undeveloped area.
Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said the network plans some 37 hours of "American Idol" content next winter and spring compared with the 50-plus hours that have been running for years. After the initial auditions, the series will probably air a two-hour show once a week. The show's decline from TV's biggest phenomenon to just another moderately successful series, combined with a failure to mint new hits, made this season a tough one for Fox.
Five of Fox's new series already have a place on Fox's fall schedule, with the rest to come later in the season. "Gotham" has the biggest buzz — Fox says a trailer online has already been seen 6 million times — and will air Monday nights. It follows a 12-year-old future caped crusader in a city teeming with crime. Although Jada Pinkett Smith will play a new character, crime boss Fish Mooney, most of the show's characters will be familiar to followers of the comic book series.
The unscripted "Utopia" will air two episodes a week in the fall, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Other new series to premiere in the fall are the youthful soap "Red Band Society"; a 10-episode series "Gracepoint," based on the British drama "Broadchurch"; and "Mulaney," starring John Mulaney as a struggling standup comic.
Fox is canceling "Enlisted," ''Dads," ''Rake," "Surviving Jack," ''Almost Human" and "The X-Factor."
Other new series planned by Fox for next season:
— "Backstrom," a crime procedural starring Rainn Wilson of "The Office" as a detective battling his own self-destructive impulses.
— "Empire," a drama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong of "The Butler" about an ailing hip-hop music executive whose children are bidding to inherit his business.
— "Heiroglyph," an action series set in ancient Egypt.
— "Wayward Pines," a 10-episode thriller from "The Sixth Sense" maker M. Night Shyamalan, based on the novel "Pines."
— "Bordertown," an animated comedy from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane about the Buckwalds and Gonzalezes, two families living in a Southwest desert town.
— "The Last Man on Earth," a comedy set in 2022 starring Will Forte as a banker who is the only human left alive after a catastrophic event.
— "Weird Loners," a comedy about four people who have trouble maintaining relationships stuck in a Queens, N.Y., townhouse.
NBC adding 12 new series
NBC, which rebounded this season from a stubborn ratings slump, will try to build on its gains with a dozen new series that include dramas starring Debra Messing and Katherine Heigl and a pair of comedies produced by Will Ferrell.
In the 2014–15 schedule announced Sunday, NBC also said it will move its freshman series "The Blacklist" to Thursday starting in February — surrendering for now its effort to bring a "must-see TV" comedy block back to the night that once housed "Friends."
Messing will star as a homicide detective and working mom in "The Mysteries of Laura" on Wednesdays this fall, while former "Grey's Anatomy" star Heigl will return to the small screen as a CIA agent in "State of Affairs" on Mondays starting in November.
Alfre Woodard will play the president opposite Heigl. Other familiar TV faces starring in new NBC series or miniseries this coming season include David Duchovny, Kate Walsh and Craig Robinson of "The Office."
NBC decided to cancel "Dracula," ''Community," ''Revolution," ''Growing Up Fisher," ''Believe," ''Crisis," ''Ironside," ''The Michael J. Fox Show," ''Sean Saves the World" and "Welcome to the Family."
"Parenthood" will air its final season this fall, and the Amy Poehler comedy "Parks and Recreation" will get its final run in a midseason slot, NBC said.
"The Blacklist," one of the reasons NBC is poised to finish the season as No. 1 among advertiser-favored young adult viewers for the first time in a decade, is being rewarded with the January 2015 post-Super Bowl spot before the James Spader drama moves from Monday to Thursday.
Other series for next season include the Ferrell-produced sitcoms "Bad Judge," starring Walsh as an unorthodox criminal court judge, which will air Thursdays, and "Mission Control," with Krysten Ritter as an aerospace engineer in the 1960s, planned for midseason.
The drama "Constantine," based on the DC Comics series "Hellblazer," is set for a fall debut and will air on Friday nights.
Duchovny, last seen on network series TV on Fox's "The X Files," will star in the limited-run series "Aquarius" as a Los Angeles police sergeant who's on the trail of future killer Charles Manson in 1967. The air date has not been announced.
Other new series planned by NBC for next season:
— "A to Z," a romantic comedy starring Ben Feldman of "Mad Men" and Cristin Milioti of "How I Met Your Mother," scheduled to air Thursdays starting this fall.
— "Marry Me," with Casey Wilson of "Happy Endings" and Ken Marino of "Eastbound & Down" as two lovers on the brink of engagement. The fall show will air Tuesdays.
— "Mr. Robinson," a sitcom about a rock band frontman (Robinson) who daylights as a substitute teacher and crosses swords with a principal played by Jean Smart.
— "One Big Happy," an Ellen DeGeneres-produced comedy about a gay woman (Elisha Cuthbert) and a straight man (Nick Zano) who are having a child together but run into complications.
— "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," produced by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper ("The Office") as a woman rescued after 15 years of cult life who is rediscovering the world with help from a friend, a wannabe actor.
— "Allegiance," a drama about a CIA analyst (Gavin Stenhouse) who discovers his parents (Scott Cohen, Hope Davis) are former Russian spies being called back to work.
— "Emerald City," a drama about a young woman's search for her roots that leads her to a reimagined Land of Oz.
— "Odyssey," a drama starring Anna Friel and Peter Facinelli about strangers fighting an international conspiracy involving the military, corporate interests and Middle Eastern terrorists.