Fall Preview 2016: Will Fox’s ‘The Exorcist’ be worthy follow-up to original?

The Exorcist -

Exorcisms certainly are more popular now on television thanks to “Outcast,” and you can certainly say the same thing as a whole about the horror genre in general. Ever since “American Horror Story,” networks have been more willing to give this form of television a shot. Yet, it’s challenging: Horror often is big one week and weak the next, it doesn’t have much staying power, and you have to find a way to appeal especially to younger viewers. When you’re airing on a major network, that can be tricky.

Based on everything we are saying, Fox’s new version of “The Exorcist” coming this fall could face many challenges. Yet, at the same time, we do think there are some things that it has working in its advantage.

Premiere Date and Timeslot Competition – Friday, September 23 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. This is a timeslot that networks have tried to figure out for a while now. “Grimm” did rather well here for a while (ratings have since started to slip), and “Shark Tank” remains for the most part the main warrior here. Yet, there could still be potential for some to watch this show live; more than anything, though, we assume that this show is going to be fighting for DVR viewers since many young people are not going to be home.

Logline – “More than four decades after the Academy Award-nominated film solidified itself as the greatest horror movie ever made, The Exorcist returns in series format as a propulsive psychological thriller following two very different priests tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession.”

Cast – Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels, Geena Davis, Brianne Howey, Hannah Kasulka, and Kurt Egyiawan

Trailer – It’s definitely creepy, but it doesn’t necessarily match the scares of any feature film involving exorcism. To us, there is some good acting in here, and the reminder is clear that in order for this series to succeed on a network with FCC limitations, it is really going to need compelling characters and also an interesting exploration of religious themes.

Overall Take – We saw the final five or ten minutes of the show’s Comic-Con panel earlier this summer in-person, and we could tell that there was a genuine passion and excitement there among the cast. We will be the first to admit that horror is not our preferred genre, but if this show creatively is 80% as good as “Outcast,” Fox could still have a sleeper hit. They certainly do have some name-recognition via the feature film and some star power via Davis.

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