Fox at TCA: Rob Lowe Returns to TV, 9-1-1 Casting Update & More!

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Fox is the latest network to take to the Television Critics Association summer press tour to unveil new details about upcoming projects as well as existing series. 

The network confirmed that Mental Samurai, a new game show that will focus on contestants using every aspect of the human mind to compete in challenges. 

It will mark Rob Lowe's return to TV following the cancellation of Code Black. He is attached to the project as a host and a producer. 

Rob Lowe Attends Premiere

“When I was 15, I won big on ‘The $10,000 Pyramid,’” said Lowe. “I’ve loved mental competition shows ever since. For me, MENTAL SAMURAI is addicting. Every time you play, you think: THIS time I’m gonna win! But this very simple game is almost impossible to crack. Also, as a producer, I’m excited to get into this new arena.”

“Mike Darnell and Arthur Smith are two of the most innovative and creative minds in unscripted television whose collaborations have been responsible for so many attention-grabbing FOX hits,” said Rob Wade, president, Alternative Entertainment and Specials, Fox Broadcasting Company.

Related: Fox Fall Schedule: What's on the Move?

“Along with our incredibly entertaining host, Rob Lowe, they are the ideal partners for this one-of-a kind high-velocity competition series that takes the game show genre to the next level.”

Rob Lowe Attends TCAs in 2017

“Rob Lowe is the real deal. We’re incredibly lucky to have someone so committed to quality, and who brings an unparalleled zeal to each of his projects,” said Mike Darnell, President, Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television.

“He’s the perfect partner for this new series that is a literal thrill ride for your brain.” “Never before has such an accessible game been so challenging,” added Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co. Productions.

“Everyone can play, however very few can win, and with Rob Lowe’s wit, warmth and encouraging spirit, the show’s first generation of Mental Samurai will have the experience of their lives.”

Fox has also placed a series order for The Masked Singer, a reality series that will focus on celebrities going head-to-head in a singing competition. 

Nick Cannon Attends Event

However, the celebrities will all be in disguise, meaning they will not know who they're really facing. Nick Cannon is attached to host while Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke will appear as Studio Panelists. 

“This is truly one of the most unique, genre-defining formats I’ve ever seen,” said Rob Wade, President, Alternative Entertainment and Specials, Fox Broadcasting Company.

Related: 9-1-1 Renewed for Season 2 at Fox!

“It’s a massive international hit, and its boldness and originality make it the perfect fit for FOX.”

“There are very few hit formats left in the world, and when I saw ‘The Masked Singer,’ which is a true global and viral phenomenon that has captured the world’s attention, I knew it had to be brought to life in America,” added executive producer Craig Plestis.

Dax Shephard Attends Event

As if that was not enough reality TV, the network has also placed an order for Dax Shephard-fronted gameshow, Spin The Wheel. 

“This show is massive on so many levels and has the ability to change people’s lives,” said Rob Wade, President, Alternative Entertainment and Specials, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“We have a charismatic and hilarious host in Dax, an uber-producer in Andrew, an insanely creative global superstar in Justin and one of the biggest prizes in primetime history. We can’t wait to SPIN THE WHEEL.”

“SPIN THE WHEEL is the opportunity of a lifetime, and every time someone spins, a massive fortune is on the line,” said executive producer Andrew Glassman.

“This is all about a rollercoaster of emotions, positive energy and some incredible wins.”

“I can’t think of a better job than giving out millions of dollars to nice people,” said host Dax Shepard. “It’s my chance to finally be Willy Wonka.”

Britton, Connie

On the scripted side of things, there was an update on Connie Britton's status on breakout hit, 9-1-1 and it was not good news. 

“We love Connie Britton, [but] it was always envisioned to be a one-year role,” Fox chairman Gary Newman told reporters.

“So it wasn’t a surprise [that she left]. If Connie expressed interest and had time in the future, I know [exec producer] Ryan [Murphy] would be thrilled to bring her back to the show.”

If you watch 9-1-1 online, you know that Abby's storyline was complete, with her opting to leave town after the death of her mother. 

Jennifer Love Hewitt has been drafted in as a series regular for the second season, presumably to fill the void left by Britton. 

Okay, TV Fanatics!

What do you think of all of this? 

Sound off below!

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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FOX Quotes

Very disappointed. Personally, I really don’t want to come back. I’d rather face the killer than backstabbers. At least I know what the motives are behind the killer.


[To Andy] If I make it back here, your ass is grass! And I’ve made sure of that.