Fox hopeful Gotham will return next season; Last Man on Earth and The Exorcist on the bubble

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Mar 12, 2018

Fox TV appears to have a definite roadmap for Gotham, its ever-expanding take on the Batman universe’s early-days backdrop. But its top executive is less sure about the fate of two of the network’s other genre favorites: Last Man on Earth and The Exorcist.

Fox Chairman Gary Newman told Deadline things are still looking up for Gotham, which is set to move away from the Thursday night time slot it’s occupied since the show’s fourth season debuted back in September of 2017.

“I thought it did a pretty good job of opening up that night for us,” Newman told Deadline. “I feel like Gotham should have a place in our schedule.” But, he added, this fall’s TV lineup already has Thursday night packed out, so figuring out where Season 5 of Gotham lands will simply be “a matter of scheduling.” 

Newman didn’t commit 100 percent to bringing Gotham into this fall’s television lineup, but he did sound a lot more optimistic about the show’s fate than that of Last Man on Earth and The Exorcist, two on-the-bubble shows he didn’t shy away from applying the dreaded B-word to. But, he added, “[h]opefully there’s more years of Gotham.”

As for the future of Last Man on Earth, which for four seasons has been teasing out the post-apocalypse’s funny side, Newman was a bit less rosy. But he said Fox has affection for the show’s “wildly creative” ongoing comedy-survival premise, and didn’t completely dismiss the idea that it could return for a fifth season run — especially if newer projects fizzle.

“It’s a bubble show, but we do love it,” he said. “I think now we would have to say we would love to bring it back, and it’s really going to be a matter of…[h]ow do our pilots pan out?”

Things look a bit more grim for The Exorcist, which saw an overall drop in viewership in its second season. Both seasons of the series have aired on Fridays, in the hope of roping in would-be moviegoers who opt to get their dose of weekend horror at home. 

But while the show has largely been a hit with critics, the Friday night time slot, said Newman, has been “tough,” and that it’s “clearly a show that’s on the bubble.”

Do Last Man on Earth and The Exorcist deserve the same commitment that Fox appears to be lavishing on Gotham? Each show has its followers, and while The Exorcist follows an anthology setup, Last Man on Earth has evolved into a character saga that has plenty of fans hooked. Let us know what you’d cut  — or keep — in the comments.