Fox is making a major change to its midseason slate.
The broadcast network has pushed country music drama Monarch to the fall after originally scheduling it for a Jan. 30 premiere date. The decision comes as the pandemic has complicated filming on the Atlanta-based series, which stars Susan Sarandon, Trace Adkins and Anna Friel as members a dynastic family in the country music world.
“Monarch is a top priority for Fox Entertainment in 2022,” the network said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, due to the unavoidable realities of the pandemic and the profound impact COVID-19 continues to have on our industry and around the world, it is necessary to reschedule Monarch’s Jan. 30 debut to the fall. As the cornerstone of Fox’s new 2022-23 slate, shifting a show of this magnitude allows us to have its entire first season produced, create additional, high-profile content and promotional windows to support launch, and give our viewers the best opportunity to enjoy the series as intended with a non-compromised run of episodes.”
Production in Atlanta will continue as planned through the spring, but sources say sticking to the original premiere date would have meant an interruption at some point in the broadcast run. Monarch will feature both original music and covers. Adkins released the first single tied to the series, titled “A Country Boy Can Survive,” in December.
The move of Monarch to the fall blows a hole in Fox’s midseason schedule. The drama was set to get the biggest possible lead-in Fox could offer this year following the NFL’s NFC Championship game on Jan. 30, before moving to its regular home two days later. Fox hasn’t announced yet what will get the post-football boost or what will air in the 9 p.m. Tuesday hour starting Feb. 1.
Monarch is one of a number of productions affected as the omicron variant of the coronavirus has surged across the United States. Among those that have shut down temporarily or moved off of planned dates are the Grammy Awards, which scrapped their Jan. 31 date, and series ranging from Star Trek: Picard to Late Night With Seth Meyers.
Monarch has been in the works since 2019, when Fox ordered a script for the project. It earned a straight to series pickup in May 2021 and then attracted an A-list cast headed by Sarandon, Friel, country music star Adkins and singer and actress Beth Ditto. Josh Sasse, Meagan Holder, Inigo Pascual, Martha Higareda and Emma Milani are also series regulars, while Faith Prince, Adam Croasdell, Reshma Shetty, Callum Kerr, Kevin Chapin, DW Moffat, Damon Dayoub and Eva Amurri have recurring parts.
Fox Entertainment is producing Monarch in-house. Melissa London Hilfers created the series and executive produces with showrunner Jon Feldman (who took over from Michael Rauch), The Jackal Group’s Gail Berman and Hend Baghdady and music manager Jason Owens of Sandbox Entertainment. Jason Ensler (The Passage) directed and serves as producer on the first episode.