Seth MacFarlane s  The Orville,  premieres this fall on Fox. AP FILE PHOTO
Seth MacFarlane s The Orville, premieres this fall on Fox. AP FILE PHOTO

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Fox network is calling on superpow- ers and Seth Mac- Farlane to boost rat- ings this fall.

"The Orville," a new space adventure starring and pro- duced by MacFarlane, is set 400 years in the future and follows the adventures of an exploratory spaceship, Fox announced Monday.

The multitalented MacFarlane, who con- tributes the animated comedy "Family Guy" to Fox, is a science buff who brought the documentary "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" to the network in 2014.

Also debuting this fall is "The Gifted," about a suburban couple who discovers their children have mutant powers, starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker; and "Ghosted," a sitcom about two partners exploring unexplained phenomena in Los Angeles starring Craig Robinson and Adam Scott.

Continuing the theme is "The X-Files," the onetime Fox staple that will make its second appearance as an "event series" with a 10-episode midseason run starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

Fox will have music as well, with returning series "Empire" and "Star" and the live musicals "Rent" and "A Christmas Story."

But it won't have "American Idol," which ended its run on Fox in 2016 and is being revived next year by ABC.


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Walden said Fox was interested in bringing back the show in 2020 with changes for a new generation of viewers but couldn't reach an agreement with producer FremantleMedia.

"It feels bad knowing it's coming back on another network," she said. But Fox felt it would be "extremely fraudulent" recycling the show so soon after what was billed as its farewell season, and in light of how sharply its ratings had dropped from its once-stellar No. 1 position.

Walden and fellow Fox Television Group chair and CEO Gary Newman emphasized their effort to use established shows to support newer shows, such as the pairing of "Lucifer" and "The Gifted" on Monday and "Empire" and "Star" on Thursday.

"New Girl" is getting another season, its last, but others that aren't so lucky include canceled shows "Pitch," "Rosewood," "Scream Queens," "Sleepy Hollow," "Son of Zorn," "APB" and "Making History."

Like NBC, which announced its fall schedule Sunday, Fox is holding back several new series for midseason. It's another indication that the once entrenched September-to-May network schedule has given way to efforts to reduce repeats amid increased competition from cable and streaming.

Other broadcast networks will present their upcoming program lineups to advertisers in New York this week.

MORE NEWCOMERS

Freshman series set for Fox's midseason:

-- "9-1-1," described as a "fast-paced exploration" of the lives and careers of first responders including police, paramedics and firefighters. Angela Bassett stars in the drama from prolific producer Ryan Murphy ("Feud").

-- "The Resident," a drama starring Matt Czuchry ("The Good Wife") and Emily VanCamp ("Revenge"), will focus on three doctors and a nurse as it reveals "what really happens, both good and bad," at American hospitals.

-- "LA to Vegas" from executive producers including Will Ferrell and Steve Levitan ("Modern Family"). Fox describes it as a workplace comedy about an airline crew and the "eccentric passengers" who fly to Las Vegas weekly in the hope of becoming winners. Dylan McDermott stars.

MAYBE, MAYBE NOT

Fox was happy with "24: Legacy," the follow-up to its successful "24," the executives said. With star Corey Hawkins on Broadway in "Six Degrees of Separation," its return couldn't be considered for fall but its future remains under discussion. "Prison Break: Resurrection" was intended as a special, one-season return, and no more episodes are in the works, Walden said. But Fox "loved" what aired earlier this year and would consider it for another limited run if the producers are so inclined, she added.

KELLY'S RETURN

Megyn Kelly made her NBC debut Monday onstage at Radio City Music Hall, telling a crowd of advertisers at the network's schedule presentation that she'll debut her Sunday newsmagazine in June and start in the 9 a.m. hour of "Today" in September. There were no details from the former Fox News Channel star but, she said, "I'm psyched."

IS THIS US?

NBC showed advertisers a tearjerker video of "This is Us" cast members surprising fans who testified on camera about how much the show meant to them. NBC was happy to boast about the success of its freshman season. In a standup routine, Seth Meyers noted the show hit a ratings milestone that NBC hadn't seen in more than a decade.

"So maybe it should be 'This is Unlike Us,"' Meyers joked.

ODD ONE OUT

As a veteran in the TV business, Matthew Perry knows how to read the tea leaves. On April 10, the actor noted on Twitter that his face on the stage door to CBS's "The Odd Couple" had been painted over with green paint. "I think it's safe to assume we have been cancelled," he tweeted.

On Monday, his premonition came true.

IS THIS MIKE ON?

MacFarlane was onstage at the Fox presentation to croon a song mocking, among others, Fox News Channel, the broadcast network's corporate sibling.

"Now at Fox, our reputation it could use a little bump, 'cause although we've brought you ratings we elected Donald Trump," he sang.

In introducing network executives Walden and Newman, MacFarlane called them "the only two people at Fox not being sued" -- a reference to harassment and other claims filed against the news channel.

After pushback, school library returns '13 Reasons' to shelves

DENVER (AP) -- As a Colorado community mourns the loss of seven students who recently killed themselves, a school district official ordered librarians to temporarily stop circulating a book that is the basis for Netflix's popular new series "13 Reasons Why," which some critics say romanticizes suicide.

The order rankled some librarians who called it censorship, and it appears to be a rare instance in which the book has been removed from circulation -- albeit briefly.

It also has highlighted the debate about balancing freedom of speech with concerns about students.

"It would be hard for anybody who has dealt with suicide to not have a heightened awareness of things, to perhaps be a little more cautious about things," said Leigh Grasso, the curriculum director for the 22,000-student Mesa County Valley School District who decided to pull the book.

The bestselling young-adult novel, published in 2007, follows a high-school girl who kills herself after creating a series of tapes for her classmates to play after her death. She gives the tapes to people who influenced her decision.

Her death in the Netflix series is depicted in the final episode of the first season, and the graphic scene has prompted schools across the country to send letters to parents and guardians with tips on how to prevent suicide.

From upstate New York to the Midwest and California, school administrators have warned that the series sensationalizes suicide and does not provide a good road map for people struggling with mental illness. There is no evidence that any of the Mesa County students who killed themselves since the beginning of the school year were inspired by the series or the book.

Grasso, who has not read the book or watched the series, appears to be one of only a few school leaders in the country who has taken the book out of circulation. Another school district in Minnesota temporarily pulled the book after a parent complained that it referenced sex.

Grasso cited media attention and recent events in an April 28 email to district librarians letting them know about her decision.

Of the 20 copies available in the school district, 19 were checked out at the time and were not affected by the directive. Still, several librarians protested, and the order was rescinded about three hours after it was issued.

Grasso said the book was made available again after librarians and school counselors determined it did not include scenes as graphic as those depicted in the Netflix series.

"I think we were just being cautious until we had the opportunity to look at the book and see how closely related to the movie it was," she told The Associated Press.

Grasso said her decision did not amount to censorship because the book was not permanently banned -- an argument that drew some pushback in the school district.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel cited one librarian saying there is a formal, board-approved process to challenge books in the district.

"I believe it is our duty to follow that process, because censorship is a slippery slope," the librarian wrote.

The newspaper, which obtained the feedback through an open records request and did not name the librarians, reported that a middle school librarian wrote, "Once we start pulling and censoring books for all students as a reactive measure there is no line to which we follow."

The show's creators remain unapologetic, saying their frank depiction of suicide needs to be unflinching and raw.

"Many people are accusing the show of glamorizing suicide and I feel strongly -- and I think everyone who made the show -- feel very strongly that we did the exact opposite," writer Brian Yorkey said. "What we did was portray suicide and we portrayed it as very ugly and very damaging."

Jay Asher, who wrote the book after a close relative attempted suicide as a teenager, said he has spoken at schools in all 50 states and tells students he would not be there if it weren't for teachers who were not afraid to talk about uncomfortable topics.

"Over and over, readers describe 'Thirteen Reasons Why' as the first time they felt understood," Asher said. "Recognizing that people will understand is the first step toward asking for help."

James LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association, said he understands why Grasso wanted to review the book, but "instead of just reacting to a moment, you get people together and make a sensible decision."

"Sometimes the world is a dangerous place, but reading about it isn't," he said.