American Idol host Ryan Seacrest was already scheduled to appear on Fox’s upcoming 25th Anniversary special. Now the network announced he will host the two-hour special, slated to air Next Sunday, April 22. In a more surprising part of the announcement, Fox announced Kelsey Grammer among the latest talent additions to the special. While he has had a recurring role on The Simpsons, on Fox is is best known as the star of the network’s sitcom Back To You, which was controversially cancelled in 2008 after one solidly-rated season. Shortly thereafter, Grammer suffered a heart attack, which he attributed to stress caused by the cancellation. His appearance on the special is the latest sign of mending fences by Fox entertainment president over the demise of Back To You, which also alienated the series’ creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd who famously took their followup project, Modern Family, to ABC. Levitan is back at Fox this season with the pilot Rebounding, which he executive produces. In addition to Grammer, also joining previously announced talent on the anniversary special are House star Hugh Laurie and In Living Color‘s Tommy Davidson.
UPDATED: Below are photos of an unscheduled upfront week event. Early this morning, because the sitcom Back to You had been cancelled, upset fans made a “memorial” in front of the gates at Fox studios. And the star of the sitcom Kelsey Grammar even posed for a picture beside it. (I just heard that Kelsey found out from my website Friday night that the show was cancelled!) I can confirm that “CBS has shown interest in Back To You.”) There were candles, balloons, floral bouquets, over 30 sympathy cards, neckties in honor of “Chuck”, and American flags. I was initially told that Fox security removed the memorial, but now fans are telling me it’s still there and even being expanded. But everyone connected to the show, especially showrunner Steve Levitan, knew about it and appreciated it.
FRIDAY 8:30 PM: Fox’s 2007-2008 primetime season sitcom Back To You starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as bickering TV co-anchors has been cancelled. Veteran ‘Til Death starring Brad Garrett has been ordered by the network. I’ve just been told that the network’s comedy pilot The Inn (20th Century Fox TV/ Reveille/Principato-Young Entertainment) is officially picked up to series now. Just before this decision, the pilot was given the go-ahead by Fox to meet writers. So they can hire now. Directed by Jason Bateman, the pilot ”screened best,” I was told earlier today. The network liked it from the start, even though its initial script was deemed “unreadable” by some people whose opinions I respect. Writer/Exec Prod: Abe Higgenbotham. Stars: Niecy Nash, Jerry O’Connell, Molly Stanton, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jolene Purdy, Brando Eaton.