BY LYNN ELBER
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — A roundup of news from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.
Fox will counter its onetime powerhouse “American Idol” with a new singing contest, “The Four.”
The network canceled its long-running “American Idol” last year because of dwindling ratings and rising costs, only to see it snapped up by ABC for an early 2018 debut.
Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden, announcing the new series Tuesday, said there’s room for a “fresh” take on the contest format as she defended the axing of “American Idol.”
While other shows are “more about celebrity panels and less about star-making,” Walden told a TV critics’ meeting, “The Four” will be the opposite.
The show’s prize: a career guided by the show’s panel, which Fox indicated is likely to be drawn from music producers, songwriters and perhaps a pop star-mentor.
Specifics on the air date, panelists and host for “The Four” will be coming later, Fox said.
SUNNY SIDE UP
Seth MacFarlane is seeking escape from the current wave of dystopian science fiction, and his vehicle is “The Orville.”
MacFarlane said Tuesday that he wants to recapture an optimistic view of the future in his new space adventure for Fox, one that echoes past “Star Trek” series.
He told a TV critics’ meeting he also wants to buck the trend of serialized dramas, with each one-hour episode of “The Orville” a self-contained story.
He said continuity is provided by the characters, including the Orville captain that MacFarlane plays in the show he created.
The show set 400 years in the future will include comic elements, MacFarlane said, but isn’t a satire in the style of space movies “Galaxy Quest” or Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs.”
“The Orville” debuts Sept. 10 on Fox.
Queen Latifah says she easily envisioned a “Star” crossover episode with “Empire” even if the executive producer for the shows didn’t.
Latifah said both dramas deal with the music industry and their characters share similarities. For instance, she said, her character, Carlotta Brown, and Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon on “Empire” are strong, powerful women.
Producer Lee Daniels said the crossover set for their season debuts was Fox’s idea, not his, but seemed logical.
On Sept. 27, “Star” and “Empire” will return and air back-to-back. A musical number in “Star” will feature choreography inspired by a Daniels’ favorite, Bob Fosse of Broadway and movie fame.
“Empire” will focus on Terrence Howard’s injured Lucious Lyon.
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