Fox Plans Week Of Music-Themed Episodes

4/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Television News

Fox Plans Week Of Music-Themed Episodes

By our guest blogger, Alexandra Cervenak

Inspired by the overwhelming success of their song and dance comedy “Glee,” Fox is planning an entire week featuring music-themed episodes for many of their primetime shows. Starting April 29 and going through May 5, “Fox Rocks” will not only include episodes of series which seem to lend themselves to the musical genre like “Glee” and “Family Guy,” but also some unusual suspects such as “Fringe,” “Bones,” and “House.”

With “Glee” having returned for its spring premiere on April 13, it’s no surprise that Fox would want to cash in on its newest hit’s unprecedented multimedia success. Aside from sweeping the awards season and snagging a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy before its first season was even complete, “Glee” has become a pop culture phenomenon, its cast singing the National Anthem at the 2009 World Series, appearing on “Oprah,” and even performing at the recent White House Easter Egg Roll. But even more impressive, the show’s accomplishments have crossed over into other areas besides television – in 2009, 25 songs sung by the cast of “Glee” charted on the Billboard Hot 100, the most by any artist since the Beatles had 31 in 1964. Two million copies of “Glee” singles have been sold on iTunes and the cast will make a highly anticipated live tour of several American cities this summer – all achievements any recording artist today would no doubt envy.

It’s no wonder then that Fox is hoping lightening will strike twice with this winning formula, encouraging its other series to get into the groove. This doesn’t mean that every episode will feature production numbers on the same scale as “Glee” – Fox President Kevin Reilly told TV Guide Magazine that “Every show will be embracing this to a greater or lesser extent. Everybody can pick whatever they want to do.”

This relative freedom of interpretation means that some shows will go all out, particularly its animated series. “The Simpsons” will feature its titular family rocking out to Ke$ha’s hit “Tik Tok,” while “Family Guy” will air its hour-long 150th episode on May 2, including reprises of popular “Family Guy” musical numbers from the past, as well as ones never before aired. In addition, “Family Guy” spin-off “The Cleveland Show” will feature the voice of Kanye West as –what else? – an animated rapper.

As for Fox’s live action series, they seem to be taking a more understated approach to the theme. “Bones” finds its FBI agents Booth and Brennan investigating a murder committed with a Gibson guitar as a weapon, and sci-fi series “Fringe” will include a fantasy sequence during which several cast members try their hand at singing. The medical drama “House” will air both an encore of its season premiere which included a scene of star Hugh Laurie playing the piano, as well as a new episode during which Laurie and several other cast members perform a Gladys Knight & the Pips tune at a karaoke bar.

Some of Fox’s stars seem more open to the music theme than others – Cherry Jones, who plays President Allison Taylor on “24,” and is herself a Broadway veteran, said of the idea “Was our esteemed Kevin Reilly on medical marijuana?" (She’s in luck, it seems like “24” won’t be joining in the musical shenanigans.) But John Noble, who portrays scientist Walter Bishop on “Fringe,” is up for the challenge: “I've done some musical theater and enjoyed it," he told the New York Daily News. He even had some good words for the musical talents of his co-stars, saying “But I'm not the A-lister here. Lance Reddick (Broyles) is a superb musician, and it turns out that Anna Torv (Olivia) has a beautiful voice.”

I’m a sucker for all things musical – several “Glee” songs might have found their way to my iPod, and I might have watched “An American in Paris” this weekend – so I am probably predisposed to finding this idea a fun one. But the success of this week will all come down to the execution, especially for shows like “Bones” or “Fringe” that aren’t tailor made for such a scheme. Fox’s animated series shouldn’t have a problem carrying it off, as they already survive on the surreal and frequently integrate musical moments into their episodes anyway. As for the others, well, things could either be really fun or go really haywire. It seems good then that most of Fox’s live action shows appear to be going for subtly – seeing Hugh Laurie’s taciturn Dr. House break out the jazz hands wouldn’t be fun, it would just be weird.

“Fox Rocks” kicks off April 29.


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