Why is FOX shelving ‘New Amsterdam’?

newamsterdam.jpegAround the same time earlier this month that I was trumpeting the coming fall debut of “New Amsterdam,” the new TV series co-produced by the dynamic LoHud duo of Lasse Hallstrom and  Leslie Holleran (of Bedford and Larchmont, respectively), other more well informed publications like Variety were announcing that, in fact, FOX was going to shelve the series until mid-season.

It was a bizarre schedule shakeup, especially given that the “New Amsterdam” trailer was phenomenal. And my colleagues at the The Journal News who have seen the pilot say that the show — about an NYC homicide detective cursed with immortality — is one of the best new series they’ve seen.

So, what gives? A few conspiracy theories are after the break:

1. The show is being saved so that it can debut after the next season of “American Idol.” FOX has notoriously terrible fall ratings, but if “New Amsterdam” can piggyback AI when it returns mid-season, it might just be able to get a “House”-like kick start.

2. FOX has no idea how to launch a scifi — or even a vaguely quirky — television show. At least, that’s the theory espoused on the SliceofSciFi blog, which says, “That clueless network still, after all these years, after their terrible mis-step with ‘Firefly,’ ‘Drive’ and so many other great and promising shows, just doesn’t get it …” A bit harsh, yes. But after watching brilliant but quickly cancelled shows like “Wonderfalls” on DVD, I do see their point.

3. Gordon Ramsey is a more reliable brand name than some dude named Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The former, aka the sadistic chef behind “Hell’s Kitchen,” has a new show called “Kitchen Nightmares” scheduled to air on Wednesdays. Until the latter, the star of “New Amsterdam,” can position himself as a cruel bastard, he’ll have a tough time breaking into Cowell-Ramsey-Bauer territory.

4. The show needed retooling. Perhaps someone at the net decided that the whole “Highlander” meets “NYPD Blue” thing wasn’t working. Maybe with a little clever editing, those unaired episodes of “Drive” can be merged so we get more of a “Gone in 60 Seconds” meets “Lord of the Rings” vibe?

5. Karaoke screwed up the whole plan. As Variety explained, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” has become a “mild summer hit” and is being kept on the schedule through the fall. Something in the lineup had to give to make room.

Personally speaking, though, I can’t stand Wayne Brady, and I’ll be watching “The Singing Bee.” Or tweezering my toe hairs and waiting for January.

(“New Amsterdam� photo: FOX)

Ted Mann

Ted Mann aspires to join Stephen Baldwin’s Breakthrough Ministry, more commonly known as “skateboarding for the savior." Before becoming a Senior Editor at InTown, he worked at The Atlantic Monthly, the Philadelphia City Paper, and the University of Pennsylvania Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Press, and The Pennsylvania Gazette.