In a last-minute switch, the new and high-profile Fox series Monarch – which was set to premiere on Jan. 30, right after the NFL's NFC Championship Game — was bumped to a fall 2022 air date instead, citing COVID-19 concerns as the cause of the delay.

It was a move that surprised fans, but Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn lays out the factors that caused the network to reach their decision in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

"We took a step back and really looked at what was happening across the whole industry. As you know, multiple shows have been shut down or taken extended hiatuses," Thorn explains, adding that while the Monarch set had experienced some COVID-19 impact, none of the outbreaks had been severe enough to necessitate a halt in production — yet.

But compared to what was going on on the sets of other shows, the possibility of experiencing an outbreak that would disrupt filming was becoming increasingly likely.

"What it really came down to was, when we took that step back we were looking at the idea that if we had one significant breakthrough — which judging by our colleagues' shows on other platforms was fairly likely, unfortunately — we realized if we had that breakthrough it could have a ripple effect into our air pattern and schedule of the show," Thorn continues. "It would potentially give the show a spotty air pattern, or put us in a position where we'd have to make creative compromises to really meet that schedule."

And for a show like Monarch — a high-profile and heavily promoted serialized drama that Thorn describes as a "significant priority" — the network didn't want to take any chances. That meant moving the show to a later date in the year, he sums up, to a time when it's less likely that the run dates will be affected by COVID-induced halts in the making of the show.

Monarch stars Trace Adkins, Susan Sarandon and Anna Friel, chronicling the adventures and misgivings of a family known as country music royalty. Music from the show had also begun to appear as part of the promotion, including an Adkins-performed cover of Hank Williams, Jr.'s "A Country Boy Can Survive."

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