It’s a big day for camp and nostalgia following Fox’s announcement that monster hit Empire will be renewed for a third season, while Ryan Murphy brand extension Scream Queens will get a second. Meanwhile, the network is going forward with its plans to resurrect bedrock brands 24 and Prison Break.
The renewals are not totally surprising, especially in the case of Empire, which remains the most-watched scripted show on television. Empire’s quality has dipped in its second season, at least according to mean ol’ critics who don’t “get it.” But its ratings are still so massive that the only time the live viewership has dipped below 10 million was when Fox had the hubris to premiere a new episode on Thanksgiving eve. The Scream Queens renewal is more of a surprise, given its lukewarm live audience and unfavorable critical response, but Fox co-chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman boasted strong DVR and streaming numbers. Plus, the anthology format means Murphy and his team can reimagine the show. Newman teased that the second season will take place in a hospital, because apparently Murphy didn’t exhaust all his jokes about weird genital maladies between Nip/Tuck and American Horror Story: Asylum.
24 will return as 24: Legacy, assuming the network likes the pilot from executive producers and 24 original gangsters Howard Gordon, Manny Coto, and Evan Katz. Director Stephen Hopkins, who directed 24’s original pilot and half of its first season, will return to helm the pilot. Unlike 2014’s Live Another Day, Legacy will be the first incarnation of the show without Kiefer Sutherland reprising his role as Jack Bauer. (But come on, Bauer has earned a break by now.) No casting or concept details have been announced. There is casting news for Prison Break, though, which will feature original stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. Creator Paul T. Scheuring reportedly blew Walden and Newman away with his pitch for the show, which is not surprising considering it will have to reanimate a dead central character. Hopefully there’s still some charge left in Fox’s defibrillator.