Fox Renews TOUCH, Cancels ALCATRAZ and THE FINDER; Orders 5 New Series Including Mindy Kaling’s IT’S MESSY and THE FOLLOWING Starring Kevin Bacon

     May 9, 2012

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On the heels of NBC’s busy Monday, Fox is shaking up the schedule in advance of the May 14 upfront presentation:

  • Fox renewed the Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch for a second season, joining Fringe, Bones, Glee, New Girl, and Raising Hope on the safe list.
  • Fellow freshman dramas Alcatraz and The Finder are cancelled, joining ambitious failure Terra Nova and House in the ether.
  • The network picked up three new single-camera comedies (The Goodwin Games, It’s Messy, Ben & Kate) and two dramas (The Mob Doctor and The Following).

Details after the break.
touch image kiefer sutherlandTouch, created by Tim Kring (Heroes), debuted to 12 million viewers and an impressive 3.9 in the 18-49 demo in the high-profile post-American Idol slot.  Ratings have flagged since then, down to 7 million (2.0 in the demo) in the last airing.  But Fox invested a lot in the drama, and The Live Feed says Touch is doing well internationally.  That was enough to convince the network to give it another shot next fall with a second season.

The choice boiled down to which of the three new dramas would survive.  Though Touch loses much of its Idol lead-in, the decision was straightforward.  Alcatraz ended its season with less than 5 million viewers (1.6 in the demo).  Last Friday, The Finder fared even worse with just 4 million viewers (1.0 in the demo).  Neither made the cut for renewal.  Fox is still in business with the high-profile producers of each show.  J.J. Abrams lost Alcatraz, but still has one final season of Fringe to look forward to.  Hart Hanson was unsuccessful with the spinoff The Finder, but the mothership Bones is still going strong, eager to get to episode 150 in season 8.

Now for the new series, outlined below.  There’s a good collection of talent here.  Behind the camera: the creators of How I Met Your Mother, campy genre specialist Kevin Williamson, writer/star of The Office Mindy Kaling.  In front of the camera: Kevin Bacon, Becki Newton, Zach Gilford, and of course writer/star of The Office Mindy Kaling. Thanks to The Live Feed for the loglines:

The Goodwin Games

the goodwin games becki newtonCast: Becki Newton, Scott Foley, Felisha Terrell, Jake Lacy, Melissa Tang

Creators: Carter Bays, Craig Thomas, and Chris Harris of How I Met Your Mother

Logline: “High-concept family comedy about a father who leaves his fortune to his three children (Newtron, Foley, Lacy)—but only if they will agree to his terms.”

Ben and Kate

Cast: Nat Faxon, Dakota Johnson, Lucy Punch, Maggie Jones, Echo Kellum

Creator: Dana Fox (Couples Retreat)

Logline: “A single mother (Johnson) gets an assist from her brother (Faxon) who moves in with her to help her raise her baby.”

It’s Messy

its messy mindy kalingCast: Mindy Kaling, Ed Weeks, Chris Messina, Anna Camp, Zoe Jarmon, Dana DeLorenzo, plus guest spots by Ed Helms, Bill Hader, and Richard Schiff

Creator: Mindy Kaling (The Office)

Logline: “A young Bridget Jones-type doctor (Kaling) tries to navigate her personal and professional lives.”

The Mob Doctor

Cast: Jordana Spiro, Zach Gilford, William Forsythe, James Carpinello, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jamie Lee Kirchner, Floriana Lima, Zeljko Ivanek, Wendy Makkena

Creators: Josh Berman and Rob Wright (Drop Dead Diva)

Logline: “A young female thoracic surgeon (Spiro) who becomes indebted to the South Chicago mafia is forced to moonlight as a “mob doctor” while also working full-time at Chicago’s most prominent hospital.”

The Following

Cast: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea, Valorie Curry, Jeananne Goossen, Nico Tortorella, Adan Canto, Billy Brown, Kyle Catlett

Creator: Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries)

Logline: “Thriller about an ex-FBI agent, Ryan Hardy (Bacon), who leads the search to catch a diabolical serial killer, Joe Carroll (Purefoy), who has created a cult of serial killers.”

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