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FX's Liguori Replaces Berman

New Fox creative chief inherits dozens of pilots 3/27/2005 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Berman's Development

Berman's Development

Gail Berman is leaving Fox on a high note. The network will probably end the season No. 1 among 18-49s for the first time. Here is a sampling of pilots ordered for next season:

Amy Coyne: A Seattle woman inherits a sports-management firm in Beverly Hills.

Born & Bread: Fox bills this show as “a provocative new relationship drama set in the cutting-edge world of a Los Angeles fertility clinic.”

The Break: A structural engineer schemes to help his brother break out of prison, where he's on death row for a murder he says he didn't commit.

Don't Ask: Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun) plays a suburban housewife whose husband turns out to be gay and dating her therapist.

Heavy on My Mind: Hip-hop artist Heavy D stars in a comedy about a tow lot.

Hitched: An Aaron Spelling drama that looks like Fantasy Island-meets-Las Vegas. It is set in a 24/7 Las Vegas wedding chapel run by a brother and sister.

New Car Smell: Brooke Shields heads a comedy set at a Las Vegas car dealership.

Peep Show: An updated version of The Odd Couple based on a British series.

Queen B: Alicia Silverstone stars in a comedy about a woman whose friends call her Queen Bee.

Reunion: This series chronicles the lives of a group of high-school friends. Each episode covers a major event in their lives, set about a year apart. (Pilot is set in 1986.)

Windfall: Drama explores how winning lotto jackpots change peoples' lives.

Sidebars:

Berman's Development

News Corp. wasted no time naming a successor to Fox Broadcasting Entertainment President Gail Berman, who resigned March 21 for a top creative slot with Paramount Pictures. Three days later, FX Networks CEO Peter Liguori was named to the post, putting him in a tight spot because he has to pull together next season's schedule in time for Fox's May 19 upfront presentation in New York.

The good news, says Liguori, is that the slate of more than two dozen pilots ordered by Berman and her development team looks strong. “I respect that team a lot, and what Gail has put in place,” Liguori says. “We'll make a decision together.”

Liguori's successor has not been announced yet, but sources inside Fox say the leading candidate is the network's head of development, John Landgraf. FX is in good shape creatively; Liguori has recently ordered two dramas and two comedies.

Don't expect any quick changes in strategy over at Fox, Liguori says. He plans to take his time settling into the new gig. “I've got to spend a lot of time listening to the good team over there before I start talking on that front.”

His mission is to develop hit programs capable of pulling in strong ratings even when American Idol isn't on the air. (Until Idol returned in January, Fox was in fourth place among 18-49s this season.) Plus, Fox's schedule was heavy on reality shows, many of which bombed.

Liguori is known to be a stickler for quality in programming. He focuses on every aspect of production—from concept to casting, writing and direction. His biggest successes at FX have been The Shield, Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me, and there's already buzz about the network's next big drama, Steven Bochco's Over There, the first series about the war in Iraq.

Liguori's entrance, coupled with Berman's ambitious plans for next season's dramas and comedies, may be a sign that Fox has had its fill of sensational reality shows.

When the current season ends in May, thanks mostly to the Idol factor, Fox may claim its first ratings victory among 18-49s.

Beyond Idol, the Fox shows that endured have an original premise and distinctive voice—from The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle to 24 and The O.C.

Look for Liguori to launch programming in that same vein.

Berman's Development

Berman's Development

Gail Berman is leaving Fox on a high note. The network will probably end the season No. 1 among 18-49s for the first time. Here is a sampling of pilots ordered for next season:

Amy Coyne: A Seattle woman inherits a sports-management firm in Beverly Hills.

Born & Bread: Fox bills this show as “a provocative new relationship drama set in the cutting-edge world of a Los Angeles fertility clinic.”

The Break: A structural engineer schemes to help his brother break out of prison, where he's on death row for a murder he says he didn't commit.

Don't Ask: Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun) plays a suburban housewife whose husband turns out to be gay and dating her therapist.

Heavy on My Mind: Hip-hop artist Heavy D stars in a comedy about a tow lot.

Hitched: An Aaron Spelling drama that looks like Fantasy Island-meets-Las Vegas. It is set in a 24/7 Las Vegas wedding chapel run by a brother and sister.

New Car Smell: Brooke Shields heads a comedy set at a Las Vegas car dealership.

Peep Show: An updated version of The Odd Couple based on a British series.

Queen B: Alicia Silverstone stars in a comedy about a woman whose friends call her Queen Bee.

Reunion: This series chronicles the lives of a group of high-school friends. Each episode covers a major event in their lives, set about a year apart. (Pilot is set in 1986.)

Windfall: Drama explores how winning lotto jackpots change peoples' lives.

 

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