Fox Boss Addresses Decision To Push ‘Monarch’ to the Fall

by Suzanne Halliburton

Finally, Fox is showing the country Monarch after touting the new series about a country music family dynasty for months.

If you’ve followed along, you know Monarch was supposed to premiere back in January. But it became a Covid casualty. As a new strain swept the country, network officials decided it didn’t want to risk a shutdown on its new, highly publicized drama.

“We’ve been patient with Monarch but it was the right choice,” Michael Thorn, president of Fox entertainment, told Deadline. “We’ve been getting really great feedback, it’s a long awaited premiere, but we’re very excited about it.”

Monarch stars Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon with country superstar Trace Adkins, Anna Friel and Beth Ditto. On the show, Sarandon and Adkins are married.

Fox May Be Doing More Country Music Shows Than Just Monarch

Fox is targeting country music fans with some of its new content. Besides Monarch, the network had been working on an anthology series about the genre. The series, called Icon, would profile some of country music’s biggest legends. But Naomi Judd was an executive producer for the series. After Judd took her own life in April, Icon plans were paused, at least temporarily.

Once Monarch premieres, Thorn said the network will revisit Icon.

“We’ll start to talk about what other opportunities we have to tell stories that have country music as a backdrop or inspiration,” Thorn said. “Or whether even if they are a true story like that the Judd story.”

He added: “We’re thinking of a different kind of icon every season that taps into 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.”

Meanwhile, Fox is giving Monarch a football kind of push. The premiere is this Sunday. And it comes on right after the post-game show for Fox’s first NFL doubleheader of the season, which includes the Packers-Vikings and Titans-Giants. Each Fox NFL game averaged 18.6 million viewers last fall. So Fox is serving up an instant audience for Monarch.

Adkins plays Albie Roman. And he will be singing in the show. The series social media team shared a clip of Adkins performing with Emma Milani, who plays Ana Phoenix. The two are singing “Half of My Hometown,” which originally was performed by Kelsea Ballerini.

Count on Some Country Cameos Throughout Series

Monarch looks like it’ll be the same type of drama first seen on Empire, a Fox drama about the first family of hip hop.

Because this show will be about country music, you can expect some famous names to show up for cameos. So far, we know that Shania Twain and Martina McBride will be in the series. So will Tanya Tucker and Little Big Town and Tanya Tucker.

After Sunday, the show switches to its normal night. You can next catch Monarch on Sept. 20.