Fox continued to grow as the years went on. Always trying to be the innovator, they tried to cash in on the science fiction craze with X Files. It was a series that demonstrated that aliens could possibly exist and that it was our own government that was keeping them a secret. Fox shows came to be known as shows that would become the pulse of pop culture. A good example of this is “Ally McBeal”. Calista Flockhart starred as a young , lawyer whose romantic problems took back seat to her cases in the courtroom. The music from the series was so popular that an album came from the show. Vonda Shepherd’s songs were a centerpiece for each episode since the regulars would come to their bar and listen to her sing each week. 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski , Lucy Liu, Robert Downey Jr. and Ellen deGeneres’ wife Portia Di Rossi were part of this cast.
As the twentieth century was coming to an end, nostalgia was becoming popular again. Fox introduced us to the Foreman family and their teenage son, Eric . Eric and his friends were the main focus of “That 70’s show” Many stars from that era in history came to make guest appearances on the show. They consisted of Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams , Christopher Knight , and others came to visit Point Place, Wisconsin, the fictional town in the show. The show also proved to be another launch for future stars. Mila Kunis went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and Ashton Kutcher graduated to a very successful movie career. He made news when he was announced as the replacement for the insane Charlie Sheen when he was fired from “Two and a Half Men” .
With the success of the Simpsons, Fox was ready to take a chance on another animated series. Seth McFarlane made his pitch and “Family Guy ” premiered in 1998. Starring the Griffith family which consisted of Peter. (McFarlane would actually voice Peter, Brian, the dog, and pervert neighbor Quagmire, and Stewie, a young baby that is obsessed with murder and world domination) his wife, Lois, their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie. The show took place in the New England town of Quahog and Peter would pal around with his buddies at the Drunken Clam. One of those buddies would be spun off into his own series, “The Cleveland Show.” Fox would continue with what came to be known as Animation Domination with such shows as “Futurama” , “American Dad,” and “Bob’s Burgers.”
As the year 2000 passed, Fox aired one of the original reality shows. There was a difference though, “American Idol” actually was a competition for young singers to perform and be named “America’s superstar” There were no jungles or romance involved. The three original judges Randy Jackson, singer Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell went all over the country to find just the right group of young people to put on the show. Part of the show was also to see the auditions of young hopefuls as they went through the process. Ryan Seacrest was the affable host of the program. “Idol” was probably the most popular launching pad of all of Fox’s shows. From the idol stable came some of the best recording artists of recent years. They include country stars Carrie Underwood and Josh Gracin, pop stars Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Hicks, and performers like Fantasia and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
“House”, which is in its final season, stars British actor Hugh Laurie as Gregory House , a doctor who refuses to follow the rules. It has also garnered many nominations. “Bones ” is a show in the csi vein about two detectives who try to solve crimes and then end up together . This past season , Temperance and Seeley hooked up ad had a baby together.
Pushing the envelope again, Fox premiered “Glee” in 2009. Glee was a show that featured musical numbers. It was about a high school glee club that was called “New Directions” The club was filled with what the school cheer coach termed losers. But the losers were embraced by the Spanish teacher and he made the glee club the most popular group in school. “Glee” would be praised for its gay , minority , and handicapped storylines. It showed kids they could do and be anything they wanted. And that glee club is cool.
What is in the future for Fox? Well hopefully there will be more animation since the Simpsons is at this writing still airing. And let us hope that there will be a rebirth of the sitcom. Fox boasts “New Girl” and “Raising Hope” as their shows that are just starting out. Will they make history like MWC or just pass into history like so many others? Time will be tell.
Original Idol judges Randy, sweet Paula, and nasty Simon