Fox Execs Explain ‘Lucifer’ Cancellation, ‘Lethal Weapon’ Re-Casting, & Talk ’24’, ‘Prison Break’ & ‘Last Man Standing’ Revival
Fox held their pre-Upfront press call earlier today, and the US network had a bit of explaining to do, given their status as the “bringer of death” in this year’s TV Friday Night Massacre.
Firstly, discussing the major story which saw Clayne Crawford fired from ‘Lethal Weapon’ with Seann William Scott joining as the new co-lead with Damon Wayans. “It wasn’t our choice,” commented Fox chairman Dana Walden. “Our partners at Warner Bros came to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver Lethal Weapon as we’ve known it, that there were some real challenges in the cast.” Those challenges are referring to Crawford’s behaviour on set. She continues saying WBTV “thought long and hard about it – I know that was not their first choice, but ultimately these were the circumstances that they could offer us the show.”
She goes on to say “a lot of different names” were considered for the new role, “I think we ultimately made the right choice,” picking Scott to join as a new character. The whole situation had Fox and WB rather stuck between a rock and a hard place. Some fans were never going to be happy at Crawford’s firing, but ultimately, if the relationships had broken down to the point that they could no longer work together, you don’t want one actor tanking the show and putting hundreds of people out of a job.
Moving on to ‘Lucifer’, it simply came down to ratings. It was “a ratings-based decision; we had very successful late year all four new dramas renewed,” commented Fox chairman Gary Newman. “We felt like performance-wise, we needed to make that change.” ‘Lucifer’ is a WBTV/DC Entertainment show and not owned by Fox, meaning that despite its popularity on streaming services and internationally, that only helps make money for WB/DC, not Fox. We should also point out Fox has less space on the network next season due to it picking up the rights to ‘Thursday Night Football’ (that’s NFL American Football). That will remove that evening being available for scripted shows.
Two shows whose fate has yet to be decided are ‘LA To Vegas’ & ‘Ghosted’. “We haven’t made a decision,” said Walden. “We still have episodes to air of ‘Ghosted’ in July.” The show was pulled from the US network in April leaving 6 episodes still unaired. ‘LA to Vegas’ which stars Dylan McDermott has not yet made it over the Atlantic, but Walden adds they “wanted to make a decision if we have a place to allow the show to grow. If we can’t find a way to make noise, we won’t do it.” Have to say, it’s not sounding overly positive for either show at the moment.
On to the revival shows, ’24’, which was last seen in the ’24: Legacy’ iteration, could be making another comeback in a new form. As we have talked about on the site before, there was a discussion of it becoming a female-led legal drama, moving away from the terrorist plots that have defined the show so far. “We are very excited about where the show would go,” comments Walden, although she refused to divulge any actual details.
‘Prison Break’ was another of revived series to return last year. “Prison Break is in early stages of development; we are focusing on getting the next iteration right,” commented Fox President Of Entertainment, Michael Thorn. Although, again, no further details, other than it is being worked on.
As for ‘The X-Files’, which returned for its 11th Season last year, it seems the show may be done, for now at least. Gillian Anderson has already said that she would not return, and Fox had previously stated there has been “no plan, there hasn’t been a single conversation.”
Finally, Fox made the decision to resurrect Tim Allen’s ABC show ‘Last Man Standing’ for a 7th Season it was announced over the weekend, and it seems that choice was inspired by another right-leaning sitcom. “Everyone took a good hard look at the success of Roseanne,” comments Walden. “It reminded us we have a huge iconic star in our Fox family in Tim Allen. And we have been talking to Tim through the year.” Feeling ABC got decent ratings with the show despite a lack of promotion, Fox felt it could work for them. “We were emboldened by the performance of Roseanne,” Walden continues. “It made us think this is a good opportunity for broadcast viewers.”