'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' and 'Mulaney' bring FOX's Sunday back where it started
The latter is how FOX Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly is viewing it. The move of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and new comedy "Mulaney" to join stalwarts "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" is a return to when shows like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "That '70s Show" co-existed with the animated shows.
"We're going to remain in [the animation] business for as long as we're in business. But at the end of the day, comedy is comedy," Reilly says. "If you look at this season in particular ... if you kick out some of the shows like 'Big Bang Theory' that have been on for seven seasons, five seasons or more, one of the challenges right now in live-action comedy ... is that without some protection, even in this more on-demand world, having a lead-in and some time-period protection is still meaningful."
The hope is that some "Simpsons" and "Family Guy" fans -- along with NFL viewers, a good portion of whom stick around when FOX airs late-afternoon games in the fall -- will linger for "Brooklyn" and "Mulaney" and give them a chance to grow.
"We love the comedies that we have and are returning to the schedule, but I just couldn't face it again having them exposed without some protection," Reilly says. "So we utilized really some of the strongest assets we have, which is [the] Sunday football audience that flows in the fall. We have seven doubleheader games in the fall; it really juices up our Sunday night. And two of our most consistent and highest-rated shows year in and year out with 'The Simpsons' and 'Family Guy.' And again, that was the history of FOX. That's where we started."