Although there are three new freshman series on Fox TV this fall, it’s a sophomore show that is getting the most attention. The X Factor is back on the schedule with Simon Cowell, creator-producer and acerbic judge for last season’s hit talent competition. This season premieres Wednesday, Sept. 12, with recording industry mogul L.A. Reid returning to help Cowell critique the acts, along with pop-princess Britney Spears, and songbird Demi Lovato.
That was not a crazy move to bring in Spears and Lovato to provide star power appealing to a young demographic. But don’t think they are just pretty window-dressing for the judges panel. Reports during the cross country search for talent earlier this year had the girls getting more prickly, and sometimes meaner with their comments to the hopefuls than Cowell. But they bring more to the show than that, he says.
“Both bring different things, and they’ve definitely got their own opinions. I always said the number one person I always want on one of these shows was Britney, because I was fascinated with her as a person,” reveals Cowell. “As a pop star there’s something intriguing about her, and I thought it would be interesting to see another side of her. And she’s a really good judge.”
Cowell kids that “Demi is a brat,” but quickly adds, “There’s something really likeable about her. And the show needed someone younger, because I’m in my 30s.” Actually, the 52-year-old Cowell admits that Spears and Lovato gang up on him with old age zingers.
The X Factor competition airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m., with the results shown on Thursdays, followed by a new season of the musical-drama series Glee, which kicks off Sept. 13 at 9 p.m., taking the angst-drenched singing students to the next level.
New to the Fox lineup is The Mob Doctor, premiering Monday, Sept. 17. It’s another in a long line of medical series, but with an interesting twist. It features Jordana Spiro as a thoracic surgeon in Chicago who is forced to moonlight as a doctor for the mafia when she finds herself on the wrong end of a mob debt. Before doing this drama, Spiro gained critical acclaim on the cult cable comedy My Boys. She says, “I never sought out to be a comedic actress. In my preteen years, I fancied myself a really dramatic actress, because I wrote sad poetry. Then I fell into comedy. Now there’s this extraordinary opportunity for me to dive into drama and medicine with The Mob Doctor.”
There are two new sitcoms Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project, premiering Sept. 25, which creates a Tuesday night comedy block on Fox as they join the crazy Raising Hope and equally wacky and dorky New Girl.
Ben and Kate focuses on a stressed out single mother (Dakota Johnson) who finds her life getting crazier after her freewheeling brother (Nat Faxon) moves in to help raise her daughter (Maggie Jones). In case you didn’t know, Johnson made her acting debut in Crazy in Alabama, alongside her mother Melanie Griffith.
The Mindy Project stars Mindy Kaling (The Office alumnus) as a doctor surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small medical office. Kaling actually pulled quadruple duty while with The Office, as an actress, writer, producer, and director. That same kind of multi-tasking talent serves her well for The Mindy Project, which she created and produces. She says it’s a job for those who “enjoy being sleep deprived.”
Of course, old favorites are coming back to the Fox airwaves with Bones on Sept. 17, Touch much later on Oct. 26, and Fringe, wrapping up its final fifth season of the mind-blowing alternate universe saga, with the last 13 must-see episodes starting Friday, Sept. 28. Meanwhile, viewers can go crazy with football and cartoons on the Sunday schedule. The Fox “Animation Domination” lineup features The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, and American Dad this fall.=