The second season of MacFarlane's comedic Star Trek homage will see a midseason return as Thursday Night Football takes over The Orville's former time slot in the fall.
The Orville will return on Sunday, December 30th following a Sunday Night Football double-header. The series will then resume in its Thursday home following the conclusion of the NFL season.
This return strategy mimics The Orville's original debut, which followed a Sunday Night Football game before moving to Thursdays for the remainder of the season.
The Orville Season Two is currently in production. The series is adding Jessica Szohr as a new series regular and Chris Johnson in a recurring role in its second season. A veteran Star Trek writer was also brought on board as an additional executive producer, and a fan-favorite Star Trek actor is confirmed to return as a guest star.
Star Trek: The Next Generation star and director Jonathan Frakes will also contribute to the new season of The Orville. At a convention, Frakes spoke about the series in comparison to CBS All Access's Star Trek: Discovery.
"The Star Trek that we have has really found its voice, and Discovery has really found its voice," Frakes explained earlier this year. "And The Orville has filled in a void. For a lot of people, The Orville is their new Star Trek because it does tell stories like [The Next Generation], and it's got wild humor in it.
"[Seth MacFarlane] clearly wanted [The Orville] to look like [The Next Generation]." Frakes added. "So, he hired the cinematographer [Marvin Rush] and the camera operator, and Brannon Braga, who wrote First Contact among other things that are fabulous. Robbie Duncan McNeill, one of our wonderful directors from Voyager, James Conway, who directed a bunch of great Next Gen episodes; he hired me. He filled the room with Next Gen people so that the show would look and feel like it. I think he did it."
The Orville was Fox's biggest premiere since Empire and was soon renewed for a second season. The new season of The Orville will consist of 14 episodes.
"Once again Seth has struck a powerful chord with viewers," said Michael Thorn, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company in a statement when the renewal was announced. "He has delivered a series full of optimism, drama and his trademark humor. We want to thank him and the rest of the talented cast, as well as the producers and crew, for an incredible first season. We can't wait to see where The Orville travels in the second."
Fox reported that The Orville had an audience of approximately 14 million viewers across all platforms.
The Orville also picked up several nominations for the Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Television Series, Best Actor in a Television Series for MacFarlane, and Best Actress in a Television Series for Adrianne Palicki.