LOS ANGELES (TheStreet) -- On the verge of finishing fourth among broadcasters for the current television season and in search of a cash cow, Fox has pinned its hopes on ratings revelation Empire and horror-comedy Scream Queens to lift the network out of its recent malaise.
In its Monday upfront pitch to ad buyers -- complete with a slightly off-key musical performance from Empire cast -- the 21st Century Fox-owned (FOXA) broadcaster plotted a course heavy on rerun-free programming, aging actors, Empire and more Empire as a way to stave off declining advertising revenues.
Its path forward: Have faith in Fox's marketing machine, particularly after the unexpected hit hip-hop drama Empire, said Fox TV Group co-chairwoman and CEO Dana Walden.
"But great programming, it's not enough," Walden said during a presentation at New York's Beacon Theatre. "There's simply too much competition out there for us to simply wait for an audience to find it."
Fox has placed bets on ditching off-weeks for some series as a way to keep audiences engaged, with staple comedy The New Girl to return midseason in January to run uninterrupted through May. The network will also revive 1990's sci-fi drama The X-Files as a six-episode midseason event.
"Contemporary viewers demand more strategic scheduling," Walden said.
Fox is also laying down its cards on comedies starring Rob Lowe (The Grinder) and John Stamos (Grandfathered). But such plans to attract the younger viewers needed to prop up ad rates may be living on a prayer.