Fox has waited a long time for its Monarch.

The network’s shiny new Nudie suit is hitting the stage this weekend, initially behind an NFL doubleheader on Sunday September 11 before moving to Tuesday nights behind The Resident.

Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox, tells Deadline that it was the “right choice” to move the Susan Sarandon-fronted show to the fall after it was initially scheduled for last season.

In an interview with Deadline, he also talks about its midseason slate, the future of shows such as 9-1-1 and The Resident, its comedy plans and how it plans to proceed with its anthology project Icon following the death of country icon Naomi Judd.

It comes as the network gets into business with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry with his first new broadcast project in a number of years.

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Monarch, a multi-generational country music drama series that also stars Trace Adkins, Anna Friel and Beth Ditto, was originally set to launch at the end of January, but was pushed due to fears around Covid.

“I’m feeling really, really good [about the fall schedule],” Thorn said. “We’ve been patient with Monarch but it was the right choice. We’ve been getting really great feedback, it’s a long awaited premiere, but we’re very excited about it.”

Monday nights brings season six of 9-1-1 followed by the second season of The Cleaning Lady. Thorn said that he has “high expectations” of the latter as a result of sampling on Hulu.

The renewals of 9-1-1 and medical drama The Resident, which is also heading into its sixth season, came down to the wire ahead of its Upfronts in May. But Thorn said that’s just the price of doing business with outside studios these days and shouldn’t necessarily be considered their final seasons.

“I think it’s just how business is going these days. Deal making is hard for every platform and every company and they’re successful shows that we love, but they’re owned by another company. It’s no surprise that those kinds of deals come down to the wire. That hasn’t changed I guess but we’re very excited about both seasons and we’ll go one season at a time,” he said.

There’s also the return of comedy Welcome To Flatch, with added Jamie Pressly, which rolls into Call Me Kat on Thursday.

Launching in midseason are all shows beginning with the letter ‘A’: Accused, a U.S. remake of the British series from Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and David Shore and featuring Michael Chiklis, Dania Ramirez-fronted police procedural Alert from The Blacklist’s John Eisendrath and Jamie Foxx, and Animal Control, a single-camera workplace comedy from the team behind The Moodys.

Animal Control essentially replaced the spot that was allocated to Cindy Snow, from The Flight Attendant’s Steve Yockey, after a deal couldn’t be reached with studio Warner Bros. TV. The latter may yet still find a place on Fox in the future, according to Thorn.

Thorn said that there’s still plenty of comedy in the works. “We definitely have a number of exciting off-cycle comedies,” said Thorn.

It is reworking the witness protection comedy from Dollface showrunner Michelle Nader that was previously intended for this season. “We are still actively developing a re-approach to the show and she is busy writing that right now and very encouraged by what we learned in the presentation and the work she’s doing,” he added.

DL Hughley is working on a sitcom based on his life and the network has ordered some back up material on that project; Country Eastern, a single-camera comedy written by India’s top comedian and Bollywood star Vir Das, is also working on back up material.

“We’re really looking to evolve our brand in comedy and like drama and animation, we’re developing all year round,” he added.

On the drama side, one project still be to be worked out is Icon, an anthology series that was to be exec produced by country music icon Naomi Judd.

Judd died suddenly in April, which has obviously impacted the project, that sets out to profile some of the world’s biggest music legends.

The show, which comes from producer Gail Berman and top country music manager Jason Owen, was put through Fox’s script-to-series model with The Morning Show exec producer Adam Milch as writer, executive producer and showrunner.

Given that it shares some auspices with its fall launch Monarch, Thorn said that once that show launches “we’ll start to talk about what other opportunities we have to tell stories that have country music as a backdrop or inspiration or whether even if they’re a true story like that the Judd story”.

He said that he loves the scripts but another idea is shifting to another icon in light of Judd’s death.

“We’re thinking of a different kind of icon every season that taps in to a really emotional or aspirational story that leans into that world. There’s a very significant overlap between the country music audience and our audience, and I’m anxious to see that those two audiences meet when in the next couple of weeks when Monarch premieres,” added Thorn.

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