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Fox News host Bob Beckel apologizes for racial slur

From left, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Eric Bolling,

(Credit: AP, Invision / Carlo Allegri)

Bob Beckel, one of the hosts of Fox News' hit series, "The Five," on Monday apologized for a racial slur that he uttered - then retracted - on the air last week during a rant about China. (You can see the clip of his apology here, or below...) The bizarre episode occurred when Beckel was just warming up his anti-China diatribe, when he slipped in the term "Chinamen" -- a slur that seemed to have...

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'American Idol' judges to return -- all of them

Judges Keith Urban, left, Jennifer Lopez and Harry

(Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

They're back -- all of them, so that professional "American Idol" watchers can no longer claim that everyone is abandoning the franchise: Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will return as judges, for the 14th season. And just in time for July 23rd auditions at Nassau Coliseum. They are good judges so this is good news ... (and good certainly for beleagured "Idol," which needed some stabilizing news right about now.Judge turnover has been endemic in recent seasons).

“Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m thrilled that they are returning to "American Idol" for another season. Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream,” said David Hill, senior executive vice president, 21st Century Fox.

Was Fox's 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,' ending Sunday, a success, or...?

This photo released by Fox shows Neil deGrasse

(Credit: AP)

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" ends Sunday (WNYW/5 at 9 p.m.), and before this remarkable Fox venture sails off into infinity and beyond, a brief farewell...

There has certainly never been anything quite like "Cosmos" on Fox -- bedfellows as strange as bedfellows could be, made stranger by the presence of Seth McFarlane, who brought this 13-part remake of the 1980 Carl Sagan classic to the...

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Fox Entertainment chief (and LI native) Kevin Reilly steps down

Kevin Reilly's long run at the top of Fox is over: The chief of the network's entertainment division told his staff in a brief farewell note Thursday morning that he will leave by the end of June: 

To my friends and colleagues: I have decided to resign as Chairman of Entertainment at FBC, effective at the end of June. While difficult decisions have to be made every day, none have weighed more heavily on me than this. The inspired FOX leadership, coupled with your commitment to excellence at FBC, has provided one of the most rewarding chapters in my life. I love TV. Always have. Since my mother told me to stop sitting so close and watching so much.

 A surprise? Well...depends on how you define "surprise:" Reilly, a savvy and highly successful entertainment boss over his decade long run (both here and at NBC), had pretty much seemed to have played all his cards by the end of last season - and even then, the primetime declines were relentless. The problems, in order: 1.) "American Idol." 2.) Sitcoms - as in, they haven't taken off, and in fact quite the opposite; 3.) Dramas, as in "You can't built an entire schedule on 'Sleepy Hollow.' "

 Nonetheless, too bad: Reilly, an LI native son - he was born in Manhasset, raised in Port Washington, went to Chaminade in Garden City, then went to Cornell -  is a smart exec who clearly loved - with a passion - the best parts of this business, and what makes it exciting. He had many successes but through no fault of his own, was stuck with a declining franchise, "Idol," that simply had nowhere to go but down...

Fox's new series trailers: You pick the hit!

Benjamin McKenzie as Det. Jim Gordon and David

(Credit: YouTube / FOX)

Fox needs a hit, and not just one with the numbers "24" in the title. It also needs to think about an "Idol-less" future or one where a once-reliable tent poll is no more reliable or even a tent poll. It needs a hit.

But who or what? "Utopia," the unscripted series, will air twice a week -- one of outings on Friday at 10, which is a recognition on the part of Fox that there is nothing to gained...

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'American Idol' to shrink next season

Alex Preston performs Ed Sheeran's "The A Team"

(Credit: Fox / Frank Micelotta)

"American Idol" -- limping to the finish line this season, or "limping" relative to immediate previous seasons -- will be cut back to 37 hours next year, and likely air on one night per week as a two-hour edition, Fox Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly told TV writers recently. 

 But Reilly did offer a big vote of confidence in the veteran series, which has essentially fallen off the "franchise" pedestal this season: It will, he said, be around "many years," though in a diminished capacity, much as "Survivor" no longer dominates.... 

"It's not going to come back and be the ratings champ it was, but it will come back for many years to come as a potent time period show," he said. "In the same way 'Survivor' hasn't been [dominant] that's the mode with 'Idol.'" He also dashed any suggestion that "Idol" remains in some sort of "turnaround" limbo. "That story's been told..." The show will be reformatted next season -- no details except the change to 37 hours from the 50-plus-hour editions that have historically aired.

Just to refresh memories, as if they might actually need refreshing, "Idol" helped Fox win season after season through the '00s, much as "Sunday Night Football" has been so critical to NBC's turnaround. "Idol" is now essentially just another series - a successful one certainly, but a financially stressed one, given the enormous host salaries, and other related production expenses. Reilly said nothing about the hosts next season -- though nothing should be read into that. Host announcements invariably arrive in late summer or even early fall. 

 But he did certainly offer hope that the end is nowhere near in sight...

Fox lineup: 'Gotham' gets Monday at 8, 'Brooklyn' to Sunday

Actress Octavia Spencer arrives for the 17th Annual

(Credit: Getty Images)

The Fox fall lineup is here and, of note, the Batman origin story series, "Gotham," will be on Mondays at 8 while "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" shifts to Sunday, essentially breaking up the Animation Domination lineup.

Also: Other key Fox newcomers, like "Wayward Pines" and "Last Man on Earth" will arrive midseason. (Nothing to read in that -- networks in fact sometimes hold off the most promising series until later.)

You will also see the word "Utopia" here twice -- yes, Fox is betting big on this latest from production company Endemol, which evokes (superficially) "Survivor" and is based on a pre-existing Dutch series: Two new episodes of this unscripted show will air in the same week, so Fox is clearly hoping this one breaks out.

Since the dawn of time, humans have always wondered: does a perfect world exist?  Now, we get the chance to build one. Will it be ultimate happiness or utter chaos? Fifteen pioneering Americans leave their everyday lives and move to an isolated, undeveloped location -- for an entire year -- where they are challenged to create their own civilization from scratch.

Well, you get the idea.

Meanwhile, "Mulaney" is the John Mulaney sitcom; "Gracepoint" is the "Broadchurch" remake; "Red Band Society" is the Octavia Spencer vehicle, a high school drama/comedy.

FOX FALL 2014 SCHEDULE (All Times ET/PT)  

MONDAY

8-9 PM           "Gotham" (new)   

9-10 PM         "Sleepy Hollow"

TUESDAY

8-9 PM           "Utopia" (new)

9-9:30 PM      "New Girl"

9:30-10 PM     "The Mindy Project" 

WEDNESDAY

8-9 PM           "Hell's Kitchen"

9-10 PM         "Red Band Society" (new)

THURSDAY

8-9 PM           "Bones"

9-10 PM         "Gracepoint" (new)

FRIDAY

8-9 PM            "MasterChef Junior"

9-10 PM          "Utopia" (new)

SATURDAY

7-10:30 PM          Fox Sports Saturday: Fox College Football

SUNDAY

7-7:30 PM                     NFL on Fox

7:30-8 PM                     The OT / "Bob's Burgers"

8-8:30 PM                     "The Simpsons"

8:30-9 PM                     "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

9-9:30 PM                     "Family Guy"

9:30-10 PM                   "Mulaney" (new)

"Backstrom" (new), "Bordertown" (new), "Empire" (new), "Hieroglyph" (new), "The last man on Earth" (new), "Wayward Pines" (new) and :"Weird Loners" (new) join the schedule in 2015, as do returning series "American Idol XIV," "The Following" and "Glee," among others.

 

 

'I Wanna Marry Harry' reality show casts two Long Islanders

The cast of Fox's new reality competition series

(Credit: Fox via YouTube)

"I Wanna Marry Harry" -- a forthcoming cheesefest on Fox that promises to stir up old memories of awful reality series of yore, like "Joe Millionaire" -- has two Long Island women on the cast.

Quickly, the set-up: Twelve women travel to England where they are told they will meet Prince Harry, for a chance at romance, or at least a chance for a nice dinner...

In fact... oh come on... you know what happens: He's really not Harry, but a lookalike (Matthew Hicks, though you be the judge as to whether his looks are indeed alike). He sends one woman home each week. Presumably none of them catch on... Presumably... Arrives May 27 on channel 5. Be afraid, be very afraid.

The LIers are: Kimberly Birch (Malverne) and Jacqueline Conroy (Rockville Centre). 

'Almost Human' is over, reports say

Karl Urban, left, as John Kennex and Michael

(Credit: AP / Fox / Liane Hentscher)

"Almost Human," Fox's promising freshman with Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, has been canceled, according to reports -- most prominently one in Deadline last night Let's go ahead and label this news "too bad, but not unexpected."

This series arrived via a pair of talented showrunners with varied and interesting pedigrees (Brad Anderson, J.H. Wyman) and featured very good leads with chemistry. (And let's not forget Minka Kelly.) I was lukewarm on the launch, but there was enough here to indicate a real future.

In fact, as Deadline points out, the numbers were not bad -- or at least not dismal -- but a handful of other big shows are in the pipeline, and because "Human" is not an in-house production (but rather from Warner Bros.), that appeared to tilt the balance toward ending. This is, by the way, the time of year when the pace of cancellation/renewal news starts to pick up, just two weeks shy of the major commercial network "upfronts." 

Michael J. Fox says NBC series isn't finished

Michael J. Fox in "The Michael J. Fox

(Credit: NBC)

Michael J. Fox, in the Hollywood Reporter, says that his NBC series, currently off the air, isn't canceled just yet, but ...well, let him tell you. Here's the quote and go here for the As Told To piece by Lacey Rose. (NBC gave the series a full season order, and a total of seven have yet to air.)

I love this show and I love the people that I work with, and I'd love to continue on with it if that's what happens. I have a feeling of accomplishment, of camaraderie and of affirmation. The hardest thing about doing something is getting started, and once you get started, it gets a life of its own, and you just ride it and see where it takes you. We just have to see where this takes us. But I don't think this journey is finished. I think these episodes, if they're put in a more advantageous spot on the schedule, can attract an audience and keep it. Family Ties was nowhere until the third season.

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