What Investors Need To Know About Fox's New 2016 Fall Season
It is that time of the year again where the networks reboot themselves with a brand new schedule and a brand new crop of rookie series. For investors it is an important period as it can give them a snapshot of how the network will do over the next season and in many cases how that will impact the network’s parent company.
Benzinga has gone network-by-network among the "big five," showcasing all the big moves, risky decisions and most interesting new shows that could impact the ratings starting this month.
Fox In Focus
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOX) (NASDAQ: FOXA)'s 2014–2015 was rocky, but it produced “Empire,” “Gotham” and “The Last Man On Earth,” so in the end, investors were able to overlook the “no-pilot” gaffe of the prior year. While 2015–2016 also produced three new “hits” (“Rosewood,” “Scream Queens” and “Lucifer”), the problem was that none of them could really hold numbers. Now comes the 2016–2017 season and a new crop of rookies network executives are hoping it will catch fire.
Biggest Move: Doubling Down On Wednesdays — A Lethal Empire?
Fox’s Wednesday night was successful last year after it was able to use “Empire” to get rookie “Rosewood” off on the right foot. While the numbers didn’t fully hold, it was still a solid start that paid off in the long run. This year, Fox is shifting “Rosewood” to Thursdays and using “Empire” to help launch another freshman — “Lethal Weapon.” “Weapon” is the hottest of Fox’s first-years, and it is getting a prime position on the schedule. This could prove to be another power pair and one that can continue to appeal to a under-valued urban audience.
Riskiest Move: The Tuesday Carousel
Tuesday’s have long been a problem for Fox, and last year, executives thought they had a answer with the lineup of “Grandfathered,” “The Grinder” and “Scream Queens.” Despite strong names in the lead roles, nobody tuned in to watch. For some reason, “Scream Queens” still survived for a sophomore run (with a even more ridiculous plot). Fox’s new answer was to pair “Queens” with two proven comedies (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “New Girl”), which may not make much of a difference. This night needed a full makeover, but it only got a new coat of paint.
New Show Most Likely To Cancelled First: ‘The Exorcist’
The film-to-TV trend has not gone the way networks have hoped, but Fox still doubled-down in May, and it could see results on both sides of the spectrum. While “Lethal Weapon” is blazing hot, “The Exorcist” is deathly cold. Fox is hoping that “Exorcist” can appeal to the audience that kept “Fringe” going for years on Friday nights — but this one lacks star power and its name recognition will only take it so far. Conversely, “Weapon” has both and the appeal of airing alongside “Empire.” “Exorcist” has “Hell’s Kitchen.”
Show To Keep An Eye On: ‘Pitch’
“Pitch” was originally slated to go in the spring to tie into the return of baseball, but then the decision was made to give it a fall debut (which ties nicely in the post-season which is also on Fox). Made in cooperation with Major League Baseball, the series about the first female baseball player is going to create a conversation. The question is, will that conversation convert into viewers? It is very possible as audiences could really gravitate to “Pitch,” but this is a timeslot that has never been a lock for Fox and the show will be going up against another sports giant — “Thursday Night Football.”
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