Just days before its upfront presentation to advertisers, FOX's schedule appears to be taking shape, including new shows from J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon and Mitch Hurwitz.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX has ordered Abrams' "Fringe" and Whedon's "Dollhouse." "Fringe," which stars Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv and John Noble, is looking at a fall launch, while "Dollhouse," Eliza Dushku's return to primetime, is heading for midseason.
Both "Fringe" and "Dollhouse" had always been considered foregone conclusions at FOX, since the network had already ordered 13 and seven episodes respectively, with penalties attached to not moving forward.
Then again, a series order may not be enough to get Bernie Mac's "Starting Under" a place on the network's schedule. The trade paper says that the comedy probably won't make FOX's fall schedule, though a desire to stay in business with Mac may lead the network to try to retool "Starting Under" for midseason.
Instead, FOX's new comedy output features a heavy dose of Jason Bateman. The "Arrested Development" veteran directed the pilot for the ensemble "The Inn" and does voice work on the animated "Sit Down, Shut Up," both of which appear set for FOX's fall lineup. The "Inn" cast includes Niecy Nash and Jerry O'Connell." On "Sit Down, Shut Up," Hurwitz has enlisted "Arrested Development" veterans Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler for voices.
It appears that "'Til Death" will return to FOX's lineup for a third season, but "Back to You" is being shopped to other networks and won't be back on FOX. Although "Back to You" delivered higher ratings than "'Til Death," its star-studded cast, led by Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, made the sitcom a pricier proposition. Also reportedly being pitched around town is the animated incarnation of "The Pitts."
Media reports are suggesting that FOX's low-rated midseason legal drama " Canterbury's Law" and the slightly higher rated immortal police procedural "New Amsterdam" are also being cancelled.
FOX's full schedule will be announced on Thursday (May 15), but the network is still tinkering with several pilots.
Alfred Molina has joined the cast of the Paul Attanasio-produced "Courtroom K," a dramedy about a judge (Molina), public defender ( Megan Dodds) and prosecutor working out of a Milwaukee courtroom.
In addition, Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights") will direct the two-hour sci-fi pilot "Virtuality" for FOX.
Also, FOX has given a cast contingent pilot order to "Inseparable" from Shaun Cassidy. Toby Stephens was formerly attached to star, but the actor's deal reportedly expired before FOX could formally order the pilot.