Real reason 911 Lone Star will not return to screens this spring

 

Fox's programming schedule for the 2023-2024 season is undergoing significant changes, particularly affecting its two highest-rated drama series from the previous season. Notably, the network's flagship show 9-1-1 has been moved to ABC, as announced in May. 

Now, its popular spinoff, 9-1-1: Lone Star, is also facing a shift in its broadcast timeline. Initially renewed for a fifth season by Fox in May, 9-1-1: Lone Star, starring Rob Lowe, will not return with new episodes this spring as previously anticipated.

Instead, the drama will produce 12 episodes scheduled to air in the fall of 2024. This decision extends the wait for Season 5, much to the disappointment of its avid fan base.

The adjustments to 9-1-1: Lone Star's production and airing schedule have been influenced by the double Hollywood strikes, which have affected many linear and streaming series. 

Ronen Rubinstein and Lisa Edelstein in 911: Lone Star

Ronen Rubinstein and Lisa Edelstein in 911: Lone Star

Earlier in the fall, Fox and the producing studio, 20th Television, had discussions about an 18-episode order, which included six episodes for the midseason and 12 for the fall. 

However, as the SAG-AFTRA strike continued into November, these plans were modified, leading to an agreement on 12 episodes for fall 2024.

The pair move in together in season 3

Season 5 is delayed

Fox is strategically positioning 9-1-1: Lone Star for the fall of 2024. With the network delaying its new scripted series for the 2023-24 season, including dramas Doc and Rescue: Hi-Surf, to the 2024-25 schedule, 9-1-1: Lone Star is expected to play a crucial role. 

The network plans to launch these new series in the fall or January, utilizing NFL and MLB coverage as promotional platforms. As Fox's most established, longest-running, and highest-rated remaining drama, 9-1-1: Lone Star is anticipated to serve as a lead-in to help launch both new series.

9-1-1: Lone Star on Fox

Lone Star was picked up for a fifth season by the network

Fox had initially hoped to air original episodes of 9-1-1: Lone Star during this midseason as well. In September, the network even adjusted its fall schedule, moving the unscripted competition series "I Can See Your Voice" to make room for reruns of 9-1-1: Lone Star. The aim was to keep the show in circulation and use these reruns as a buildup to the series' return post-strike.

The production complexity of 9-1-1: Lone Star, akin to the original 9-1-1 series, requires significant pre-production and post-production efforts, including substantial VFX work.

 The end of the strike in November made it challenging to fit a meaningful 10- to 13-episode season within the confines of the 2023-24 broadcast season, considering time and financial constraints.

Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael Silva in the "Open" episode of 9-1-1 LONE STAR airing Tuesday, Apr 11

Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael Silva

The specifics of how Fox and 20th TV agreed to produce 12 episodes for the next fall are not entirely clear. In its fifth season, 9-1-1: Lone Star is deficit-financed by 20th Television. Fox, which does not have ownership, pays a flat license fee. 

This arrangement means that the Disney-owned studio covers the deficits incurred in making the show, which are likely significant given the show's high caliber, potentially running into seven figures per episode.

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