Fox Upfront: May 12, 2014

At the Beacon Theatre, Ryan Seacrest announced “THIS…is the 2014 Fox Upfront.” Fox chairman Kevin Reilly called the net’s 2014-2015 portfolio “the biggest investment in programming we’ve ever made,” with “distinctive series, addictive event dramas and can’t-miss live specials that will deliver broadcast’s most youthful audience at scale.”

 

Debuting in the fall are Batman prequel Gotham and coming-of-age drama Red Band Society, starring Octavia Spencer (The Help); both trailers got a hearty audience response. Also bowing in the fall: mystery event series Gracepoint, comedy Mulaney and unscripted social experiment Utopia.

 

On deck for 2015 are dramas Empire, Hieroglyph and Backstrom, event series Wayward Pines, and three comedies: singles ensemble Weird Loners, Will Forte’s The Last Man on Earth and animated comedy Bordertown. Other highlights include live specials Jump of the Century, calling for two men to attempt the jump Evel Knievel didn’t make across a 2300-foot canyon, and a three-hour live production of Grease.

 

The net is going for a bigger slice of year-ender action with Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution (wt). The 2015 countdown, featuring musicians, DJs and celebrity pals of the Miami rapper, is the first live televised special to be announced under the new Endemol LIVE division.

 

New media initiatives include a studio with over 100 animators working on digital shorts and a partnership for online videos with Andy Samberg’s The Lonely Island comedy group. Samberg himself was on hand to lend star power and one-liners (“What we lack in boobs we make up for in commercials”).

 

“Fox is redefining the network experience on our air and as a 24/7/365 platform,” said Reilly. Added COO Joe Earley, “The new series and specials we’re presenting today feature buzzworthy worlds and characters that we think will be the most talked about, liked, tweeted and shared of the season.”

 

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