It was a busy night for the Fox Network ahead of next week’s upfronts, as they made several announcements regarding returning shows, shows not returning, and a few new pick-ups, neither of which were a surprise. Let’s break it down:
Renewals: “Touch” — The renewal of Kiefer Sutherland’s new wishy-washy, “Touched by an Autistic Math Genius” drama was not a huge surprise. Ratings were solid, but buzz was not high. I gave it a semi-positive review after its debut, but at the time, my wife had just given birth to twin girls. Never trust a new father’s judgement when it comes to sappy television. I haven’t watched the show since, nor do I have any intention of doing so in the future.
Cancellations: “The Finder” and “Alcatraz” — J.J. Abrams is two for four in developing new series since “Lost.” “Person of Interest” and, for a while anyway, “Fringe” were hits (and both are still on the air). Meanwhile, “Undercovers” and now “Alcatraz” have been canceled. “Alcatraz,” besides giving Hurley a job, was kind of a dippy time-travel, prison procedural, sort of a J.J. Abrams blender of elements. Meanwhile, the “Bones” spin-off, “The Finder,” never found much of an audience, so it will not return. It is interesting to note, however, that both “Alcatraz” and canceled “Terra Nova” had higher ratings than “Touch,” and yet it’s the Kiefer show that moves on.
Pick-Ups: “It’s Messy,” “The Goodwin Games,” “Ben & Kate,” and “The Following”: “It’s Messy” is an awful title for a show about an OBGYN (Mindy Kaling), but there was never any doubt that Fox would land this show and likely pair it with “New Girl.” B.J. Novak will exec produce along with Kaling, who is also writing and starring in the show. Chris Messina also stars, and Bill Hader, Ed Helms and Richard Schiff will guest star in the pilot.
Fox picked up two other comedies. “Ben & Kate” is about a new mother whose brother moves in to become her nanny, and stars Lucy Punch, Maggie Jones and Echo Kellum. “The Goodwin Games” comes from “How I Met Your Mother” creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. It stars Scott Foley and Becki Newton, and it’s about two siblings who inherit their father’s large fortune so long as they play by his rules.
Finally, Fox also picked up Kevin Bacon’s serial killer drama, “The Following.” The show is about the complex relationship between a serial killer (James Purefoy) and a damaged FBI agent who took him down (Kevin Bacon). Natalie Zea and Maggie Grace also star.