NEW YORK — Fox, facing the ebbing ratings power of “American Idol,” is betting big on its first miniseries showcase, starting with a limited-edition “24” and shows from heavyweight producers Seth MacFarlane and J.J. Abrams to invigorate its schedule.
The network is making its largest original-programming investment yet with a crop of 11 new series along with a miniseries from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan for the 2013-14 season, Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chairman, said Monday. That’s more than double the five series it announced last year.
Fox was the second of the major broadcast networks to announce its schedule for next season, following NBC’s unveiling Sunday of an even heftier load of 17 new series.
Although producers of “24” had contemplated bringing the canceled show back with a big-screen movie, they decided that Fox’s planned “event series” would be the right place for it, Reilly said.
The miniseries, “24: Live Another Day,” will clock in at half its running length and the 12 episodes will be chronological but will skip some hours, he said. It likely will kick off the event franchise in the summer.
The next announced miniseries is “Wayward Pines,” from Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”). Based on the best-selling novel “Pines,” it stars Matt Dillon in what Fox called a “mind-bending thriller” about the search for missing federal agents in an Idaho town. It will air in midseason.
MacFarlane, a key Fox supplier with the animated comedies “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show,” will be trying his hand at a live-action sitcom. “Dads” stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as best friends whose fathers (Martin Mull, Peter Riegert) become their new roommates.
Abrams (“Lost,” “Fringe” and the “Star Trek” movie franchise) is among the producers of “Almost Human,” described by Fox as a high-tech action series set 35 years in the future, when officers are teamed with humanlike androids. The drama debuting this fall stars Karl Urban, Michael Ealy and Lili Taylor.
The second new fall drama is “Sleepy Hollow,” a retelling of Washington Irving’s classic 19th-century tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Timid schoolmaster Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected 250 years in the future and discovers he must save the world from destruction.
One new reality show, a cooking competition for youngsters ages 8 to 13 and with the working title, “Junior Masterchef,” will debut in the fall with Gordon Ramsey among its coaches.
In midseason, Greg Kinnear will take on his first continuing broadcast series role in “Rake,” a legal drama based on a hit Australian series of the same name. The actor, whose movie credits include “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Baby Mama,” starred in the cable miniseries “The Kennedys.”
Fox’s other new shows, all set for midseason, are:
“Gang Related,” about a gang task force in Los Angeles confronting the city’s most dangerous criminals, stars Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”) as the task force’s leader and rapper-producer RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan, and Ramon Rodriguez as members.
“Us & Them,” a comedy based on the British hit “Gavin and Stacey,” stars Jason Ritter (“Parenthood”) and Alexis Bledel (“The Gilmore Girls”) as a young couple who find their relationship complicated by family and friends.
“Surviving Jack,” based on Justin Halpern’s semi-autobiographical book, is set in 1990s Southern California and stars Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) in a coming-of-age sitcom about a man and his son.
“Murder Police,” an animated comedy about an inept detective and his colleagues, features the voices of Will Sasso, Chi McBride, Jane Lynch and Jason Ruiz, one of its executive producers.