2021 TV Upfronts: Fox announces 2021-2022 schedule; see photos and videos

May 17, 2021

by Carla Hay

Elodie Yung in “The Cleaning Lady”  (Photo by Ursula Coyote/Fox)

Fox has officially announced its 2021-2022 schedule. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fox’s in-person upfront presentation (which is usually held at the Beacon Theatre in New York City) was made online instead, for the second consecutive year. Most of the existing shows had previously been announced as renewed. However, the upfront presentation made it official that the following shows have been cancelled: “Filthy Rich,” “Prodigal Son,” “Last Man Standing,” “neXt,” “Outmatched,” “Bless the Harts,” “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell & Back,” “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” and “L.A. Finest.” Fox has not yet announced the fates of “Outmatched,” “Spin the Wheel,” “Labor of Love” and “The Ultimate Tag.” “So You Think You Can Dance” has been renewed for a 17th season, but production is on hiatus do to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New scripted shows on Fox include “The Big Leap,” “Our Kind of People,” “The Cleaning Lady,” “Welcome to Flatch,” “Pivoting,” “Accused,” “Krapopolis” and “Fantasy Island.” New unscripted shows include “Alter Ego,” “Next Level Chef,” “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” and “Domino Masters.”

Several actors who are familiar to TV audiences are starring in these shows, including “The Big Leap” star Scott Foley (formerly of “Scandal”); “Our Kind of People” stars YaYa Da Costa (formerly of “Chicago Med”) and Morris Chestnut (who currently co-stars in “The Resident”); “Welcome to Flatch” star Seann William Scott (formerly of “Lethal Weapon”); and “Pivoting” stars Eliza Coupe (formerly of “Happy Endings”), Ginnifer Goodwin (formerly of “Once Upon a Time”) and Maggie Q (formerly of “Designated Survivor”).

Fall premiere dates will be announced at a later time. Please note that shows picked up but not listed on the schedule below will have their season debuts at other times in the 2021-2022 season. They include new shows such as “Monarch,” “The Cleaning Lady,” “Welcome to Flatch,” “Pivoting,” “Accused,” “Krapopolis” and “Fantasy Island,” as well as renewed shows such as “9-1-1,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Call Me Kat,” “Beat Shazam,” “Crime Scene Kitchen,” “Duncanville,” “I Can See Your Voice,” “Lego Masters,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef.”

The following is an excerpt from a Fox press release:

FOX FALL 2021 SCHEDULE

All times listed are Eastern Time only.

MONDAY

8-9 p.m.   “9-1-1”
9-10 p.m. “The Big Leap”

TUESDAY

8-9 p.m.   “The Resident”
9-10 p.m. “Our Kind of People”

WEDNESDAY

8-9 p.m.   “The Masked Singer”
9-10 p.m. “Alter Ego”

THURSDAY

8 p.m. “Thursday Night Football on Fox”

FRIDAY

8-10 p.m.      “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown”

SATURDAY

7-10:30 p.m. “Fox Sports Saturday”

SUNDAY

7-7:30 p.m.  “NFL on Fox”
7:30-8 p.m.  “The OT”/Fox Encores
8-8:30 p.m.  “The Simpsons”
8:30-9 p.m.  “The Great North”
9-9:30 p.m.  “Bob’s Burgers”
9:30-10 p.m. “Family Guy”

NEW DRAMA SERIES

“ACCUSED”

From executive producers Howard Gordon (“24,” “Homeland”), Alex Gansa (“24,” “Homeland”) and David Shore (“The Good Doctor,” “House”), ACCUSED is based on the BBC’s BAFTA-winning crime anthology, in which each episode opens in a courtroom on the accused without knowing their crime or how they ended up on trial, the drama is told from the defendant’s point of view. In ACCUSED, viewers discover how an ordinary person got caught up in an extraordinary situation, ultimately revealing how one wrong turn leads to another, until it’s too late to turn back.

“THE BIG LEAP”

Kevin Daniels, Mallory Jansen, Scott Foley, Simone Recasner, Raymond Cham Jr., Ser’Darius Blain, Teri Polo, Piper Perabo, Jon Rudnitsky, and guest stars Karen Rodriguez, Adam Kaplan, Anna Grace Barlow and Donnetta Jackson in “The Big Leap” (Photo by George Burns/Fox)

THE BIG LEAP is a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams and taking back what’s yours. From creator/executive producer Liz Heldens (“The Passage,” “Friday Night Lights”), director/executive producer Jason Winer (“Modern Family”) and executive producer Sue Naegle (“The Plot Against America”), the show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show that builds to a live production of “Swan Lake.” Inspired by a U.K. reality format, THE BIG LEAP is an innovative show-within-a-show that takes viewers on a journey of self-acceptance and empowerment at any age. The series stars Scott Foley (“Scandal”), Teri Polo (“Meet the Parents” franchise), Piper Perabo (“Covert Affairs,” “Coyote Ugly”), newcomer Simone Recasner, Ser’Darius Blain (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”), Jon Rudnitsky (“Catch-22”), Raymond Cham Jr. (“Five Points”), Mallory Jansen (“Galavant”), Kevin Daniels (“Modern Family”) and Anna Grace Barlow (“The Goldbergs”).

“THE CLEANING LADY”

Elodie Yung in “The Cleaning Lady” (Photo by Ursula Coyote/Fox)

From executive producer/writer Miranda Kwok (“The 100”), executive producer/showrunner Melissa Carter (“Queen Sugar”), executive producer/director Michael Offer (“Homeland,” “How to Get Away with Murder”) and executive producers Shay Mitchell (“You,” “Pretty Little Liars”), Rose Marie Vega and Paola Suarez, THE CLEANING LADY is a thrilling and emotionally driven character drama about a whip-smart Cambodian doctor who comes to the U.S. for a medical treatment to save her ailing son. However, when the system fails and pushes her into hiding, she refuses to be beaten down and marginalized. Instead, she becomes a cleaning lady for organized crime, using her cunning and intelligence to forge her own path in the criminal underworld. The series stars Elodie Yung (“The Hitman’s Bodyguard”), Adan Canto (“Designated Survivor,”), Martha Millan (“The OA”) and newcomers Valentino and Sebastien LaSalle.

“FANTASY ISLAND”

“Fantasy Island” star Roselyn Sanchez (Photo courtesy of Fox)

This August, FOX travels to FANTASY ISLAND, with an all-new version of the classic show. A modern drama series, FANTASY ISLAND takes place at a luxury resort, where literally any fantasy requested by guests is fulfilled, although they rarely turn out as expected. Delving into the “what if” questions — both big and small — that keep us awake at night, each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who arrive with dreams and desires, and depart enlightened and transformed through the magical realism of Fantasy Island. Serving as steward of this mysterious island is ELENA ROARKE (Roselyn Sanchez, “Devious Maids,” “Grand Hotel”), a descendant of the iconic Mr. Roarke. Elena set aside her own ambitions, and even the love of her life, to uphold her family’s legacy. Sophisticated, insightful and always charming, her calm exterior masks the challenges of the responsibilities she has assumed. Assisting Elena is RUBY OKORO (Kiara Barnes, “The Bold and the Beautiful”), a young woman with an old soul who arrives on Fantasy Island with a terminal illness, and is given a new lease on life there; and pilot JAVIER (John Gabriel Rodriquez, “Miranda’s Rights,” “Rosewood”), who also is the head of island transportation and a jack of all trades.

“MONARCH”

MONARCH is an epic, multi-generational musical drama about America’s first family of country music. The series debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, immediately following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP, and continuing on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. In MONARCH, from FOX Entertainment, the Romans are passionate and fiercely talented, but while their name is synonymous with honesty, the very foundation of this family’s success is a lie. When dangerous truths bubble to the surface, the Romans’ reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy. Nicky Roman, the brilliant and fierce heir to the crown, already battling an industry and world stacked against her, will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy. It’s finally her turn. But is it too late? MONARCH is produced by FOX Entertainment. Melissa London Hilfers (“Instinct”) serves as creator, writer and executive producer. Michael Rauch (“Royal Pains”) is an executive producer and showrunner. Gail Berman and Hend Baghdady (The Jackal Group) and Jason Owen (Sandbox Entertainment) also serve as executive producers.

“OUR KIND OF PEOPLE”

Inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative, critically acclaimed book, “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class,” the series takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful black elite have come to play for over 50 years. From executive producer Lee Daniels (“Empire,” “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday”) and writer and executive producer Karin Gist (“Star,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), OUR KIND OF PEOPLE follows a strong-willed, single mom as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of black women. But she soon discovers a dark secret about her own mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever. The show is a soapy, thrilling exploration of race and class in America and an unapologetic celebration of black resilience and achievement.  The series stars Yaya DaCosta (“Chicago Med,” “Whitney”) as Angela Vaughn and Morris Chestnut (THE RESIDENT) as Raymond DuPont.

NEW COMEDY SERIES

“KRAPOPOLIS”

KRAPOPOLIS is an animated comedy set in mythical ancient Greece from Emmy Award-winning creator Dan Harmon (“Rick and Morty,” “Community”). Centered on a flawed family of humans, gods and monsters that tries to run one of the world’s first cities without killing each other. Fully owned and financed by FOX Entertainment, the comedy will be produced by its Emmy Award-winning animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment. Additionally, KRAPOPOLIS will serve as the first-ever animated series curated entirely on the Blockchain, as FOX and Bento Box enter the NFT business. The company will launch a dedicated marketplace for KRAPOPOLIS that will curate and sell digital goods, ranging from NFTs of one-of-a-kind character and background art and GIFs, as well as tokens that provide exclusive social experiences to engage and reward super fans. 

“PIVOTING”

Maggie Q, Ginnifer Goodwin and Eliza Coupe in “Pivoting” (Photo by Joe Viles/Fox)

PIVOTING is a single-camera comedy about how we deal with life, death and all the crazy things that happen in between. Set in a small, middle-class town in Long Island, NY, the series follows three women – and close-knit childhood friends – as they cope with the death of the fourth member of their group. When faced with the reality that life is short, these women pivot, and alter their current paths, by way of a series of impulsive, ill-advised and self-indulgent decisions. These pivots will strengthen their bond and prove it’s never too late to screw up your life in the pursuit of happiness. Written and executive-produced by Liz Astrof (“The Conners,” “2 Broke Girls”), the series stars Eliza Coupe (“Happy Endings”), Ginnifer Goodwin (“Once Upon a Time”), Maggie Q (“Designated Survivor”), Tommy Dewey (“Casual”), JT Neal (“Bless This Mess”) and Marcello Reyes (“Modern Family”).

“WELCOME TO FLATCH”

Inspired by BBC Studios’ BAFTA-winning BBC format, “This Country,” WELCOME TO FLATCH (fka “This Country”) is a half-hour comedy written and executive-produced by Emmy Award winner Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City,” “The Greatest Showman”) and directed and executive-produced by Emmy Award nominee Paul Feig (“The Office,” “Bridesmaids”). When a documentary crew sets out to explore the lives of residents in a small American town – their dreams, their concerns – they stumble upon the midwestern town of Flatch, which is made up of many eccentric personalities. It’s a place you want to visit and maybe even stay. If there was a decent motel. Which there is not. The series stars newcomers Chelsea Holmes and Sam Straley, Seann William Scott (“Lethal Weapon,” “American Pie” franchise), Aya Cash (“The Boys,” “You’re The Worst”), Taylor Ortega (“Succession”) and newcomers Krystal Smith and Justin Linville.

NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES

“ALTER EGO”

From FOX Alternative Entertainment and executive-produced by Matilda Zoltowski (“Dancing with the Stars,” “World of Dance”), ALTER EGO is an all-new original singing competition where lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers from all walks of life become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves. Rather, they’ll be given the chance to show how they’ve always wanted to be seen, creating their dream avatar ALTER EGO to reinvent themselves and perform like never before.

“DOMINO MASTERS”

“Domino Masters” host Eric Stonestreet (Photo courtesy of Fox)

Hosted by multi-Emmy-Award-winning actor and comedian Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”), DOMINO MASTERS brings imagination and creative ingenuity to life when teams of domino enthusiasts go head-to-head in a toppling tournament to create mind-blowing masterpieces, with infinite possibilities and thousands of tiles and unique kinetic devices. Stonestreet is joined by a panel of judges, including best-selling author and actress Danica McKellar (“Matchmaker Mysteries”), NFL Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Vernon Davis (“The Challenge”) and professional domino artist Steve Price, as 16 skilled teams compete against each other in ambitious building challenges to be crowned the country’s most talented amateur domino topplers. In each episode, the teams will be given a bold theme and exciting custom elements to incorporate into their topple. The competing pairs who most impress the judges will progress to the next round, until the finale, during which the top teams will face off for a cash prize, the ultimate trophy and the grand title of DOMINO MASTERS. 

“DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS!”

“Don’t Forget the Lyrics” host Niecy Nash (Photo courtesy of Fox)

Emmy Award nominee Niecy Nash hosts the all-new version of the popular game show DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS!, challenging contestants’ musical memory, as they get one song closer to winning $1 million if they DON’T FORGET THE LYRICS! Contestants will choose songs from different genres, decades and musical artists, then they’ll take center stage to sing alongside the studio band as the lyrics are projected on screen – but suddenly the music will stop, and the words will disappear. Will the contestants belt out the correct missing lyrics, or freeze under pressure? If they sing nine songs correctly, they are presented with a No. 1 hit and sing the final missing lyrics for the top prize of $1 million. It’s that simple: 10 songs, some missing lyrics, $1 million.

“NEXT LEVEL CHEF”

“Next Level Chef” star Gordon Ramsay (Photo courtesy of Fox)

Gordon Ramsay is back with NEXT LEVEL CHEF, the next evolution in cooking competitions. Produced by FOX Alternative Entertainment and Studio Ramsay, the series features a one-of-a-kind culinary gauntlet – which Chef Ramsay designed — set on an iconic stage like you’ve never seen. Over three stories high, each floor contains a stunningly different kitchen. From the glistening top floor to the challenging bottom of the basement, the ingredients will match the environment, because Ramsay believes the true test of a great chef is not only what they can do in the best of circumstances, but what kind of magic they can create in the worst!  With a level playing field, Chef Ramsay has opened up the competition and scoured the country for the very best line cooks, home chefs, social media stars, food truck owners and everything in between, all competing against one and other with the goal of finding the food world’s newest superstar. Joined by two elite names in the food world, chefs Nyesha Arrington and Gino D’Acampo, Ramsay and his co-mentors will leave no stone unturned, as they each recruit a group of the talented young chefs and take them under their wings. Ramsay and his friends will attempt to bring out the very best in their cooks, as they all try to find “the one.” 

Review: ‘Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island,’ starring Lucy Hale and Michael Peña

February 14, 2020

by Carla Hay

Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell and Michael Peña in “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” (Photo by Christopher Moss/Columbia Pictures)

“Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” 

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Culture Representation: Taking place in a fictional South Pacific locale, the horror film “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” (inspired by the 1977-1984 TV series) follows a racially diverse cast of middle-class characters who go to a luxurious island to fulfill their biggest fantasies.

Culture Clash: The fantasies turn into nightmares, as the island visitors end up in terrifying life-threatening situations.

Culture Audience: “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” will appeal mostly to horror enthusiasts or curious fans of the original TV series who already know that the movie will be filled with over-the-top entertainment.

Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen and Parisa Fitz-Henley in “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” (Photo by Christopher Moss/Columbia Pictures)

Here’s one thing that “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” movie has in common with the 1977-1984 TV series “Fantasy Island” TV series that inspired the film: There’s plenty of cheesiness to go around. The premise is still the same: A group of strangers fly on a private plane to a beautiful island, where they meet their host: the enigmatic Mr. Roarke, who always wears a white suit. All of the strangers are there to fulfill their biggest fantasies. And one by one, they begin to regret that their wishes came true.

The TV series had so much over-the-top ridiculousness (including Mr. Roarke fighting the devil) that people who’ve seen the show might already sense that the movie isn’t going to have any aspirations of being an arthouse film. However, the movie, which was filmed in Fiji, is a pretty good advertisement for the South Pacific country’s gorgeous landscape. The brand name for Blumhouse (the production company whose specialty is horror, with franchises such as “The Purge” and “Insidious”) might be an added attraction, but the quality of Blumhouse films is hit or miss.

Case in point: Blumhouse was the production company behind writer/director Jordan Peele’s 2017 Oscar-winning horror blockbuster “Get Out.” But Blumhouse also did 2017’s “Truth or Dare,” one of Blumhouse’s worst horror movies, directed by Jeff Wadlow, starring Lucy Hale, and written by Wadlow, Chris Roach and Jillian Jacobs. And guess what? All four of them have reteamed for “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island,” which is only slightly better than “Truth or Dare,” because at least “Fantasy Island” made some attempt to be a horror film that’s a little more intricate than a cliché slasher flick. Too bad that attempt results in a convoluted mess.

Who are the strangers who’ve gathered on this island and what are their fantasies? They are contest winners who, when they first arrive, cynically speculate about what kinds of elaborate stunts will be pulled to make their fantasies look realistic. Sarcastic beauty Melanie Cole (played by Hale) wants revenge on former schoolmate Sloane Maddison (played by Portia Doubleday), who bullied Melanie in their childhood. Nerdy stepbrothers JD Weaver (played by Ryan Hansen) and Brax Weaver (played by Jimmy O. Yang) want to live out their wildest party fantasies.

Patrick Sullivan (played by Austin Stowell) is a good-guy cop who has a military “Call of Duty” type of fantasy that involves someone from his past. Insecure and sad Gwen Olsen (played by Maggie Q) wants to go back in time to change a decision she made years ago in her personal life. They are greeted by Mr. Roarke (played by Michael Peña), who tells them that once they’ve started living their fantasies, they can’t go back and change their minds.

The “Fantasy Island” TV series famously had an energetic character named Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize) as Mr. Roarke’s assistant. In this movie, Mr. Roarke’s assistant is a woman named Julia (played by Parisa Fitz-Henley), who’s as calm as Tattoo was hyper. This movie’s Mr. Roarke is much more serious and aloof than the TV version of Mr. Roarke (played by Ricardo Montalbán), although one thing is still the same: He greets his staff by saying, “Smiles, everyone. Smiles.”

Speaking of the Fantasy Island staffers in the movie, they are some of the biggest clues that all is not so wonderful on Fantasy Island. Julia gets mysterious nose bleeds and has a vacant stare. (And later in the movie, some of the employees bleed black bile from their eyes.) One of the staffers is so creepy-looking that he looks like he walked straight from an audition for playing Riff Raff in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Because the movie has numerous twists and turns, there’s only so much that can be described without giving away spoiler information. Melanie is taken to a high-tech room where she thinks she’s seeing a hologram of her former nemesis Sloane, who’s tied up and gagged and sitting in a torture-chamber chair. Melanie has fun pushing certain buttons on the control panel that cause Sloane to go through various forms of torture. But then Melanie figures out that the Sloane she’s seeing isn’t a hologram but the real person.

JD and Brax are taken to a massive pool party that looks like a commercial for a Hedonism II Resort, where they’re surrounded by gorgeous people (women for JD; men for Brax, who is openly gay) and whatever they want to get intoxicated. JD and Brax provide most of the comic relief in the film, although some of their poorly written jokes fall flatter than Mr. Roarke’s emotionless voice.

Meanwhile, Patrick isn’t having as much fun as the Weaver brothers. He’s been taken into the jungle by soldiers who start off by treating him like a prisoner, and he has to earn their respect to be part of the squad. As for Gwen, she wakes up to find herself reconnecting with someone she thought she would never see again.

The movie switches back and forth between all four fantasies until some of the fantasies start to overlap with one another. Some characters come and go without much explanation. Some characters might be real or they might be part of a fantasy. And the last 20 minutes of the film are absolutely bonkers with all the plot twists that try to tie in what happened earlier in the story.

“Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” is like a giant tangled, rotting ball of yarn that keeps gathering dustballs of bad ideas on top of more bad ideas. You can try to untangle it to sort it all out, but it’s not worth it, and it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Columbia Pictures released “Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island” in U.S. cinemas on February 14, 2020.

Copyright 2017-2022 Culture Mix
CULTURE MIX