Broadcast Nets To Stagger Fall Launches


The Big Three broadcast networks will launch their fall schedules for the most part in line with Nielsen's official Sept. 22 start date. The WB and UPN will get most of their schedules under way before then to evade the shadows of their bigger brethren. Fox's launches will be all over the calendar as the network contends with scheduling around pennant races and post-season baseball.

NBC will stick with a traditional fall launch schedule, with most of its new shows kicking off the week of Sept. 22. New drama Las Vegas
will launch one week late, allowing Fear Factor
a two-hour season premiere on Monday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m.

Only one of ABC's seven new shows will launch before the start of the fall season, unlike last year when the network tried to give all its new comedies a head start. Threat Matrix, scheduled in the tough Thursday 8 p.m. time slot, will launch Sept. 18, followed by the season premiere of Extreme Makeover.

Only Survivor: Pearl Islands
will get a jump on CBS's fall schedule. The rest of CBS's new shows will launch during the week of Sept. 22. The only returning CBS show to launch late is Becker, premiering Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 9:30 p.m.

All of UPN's fall schedule will launch before Sept. 22, except the fall movie night, which will kick off Friday, Sept. 26. The WB will launch four of its six new shows prior to the official start of the fall season.

The WB's two biggest new fall shows—One Tree Hill
and Tarzan
—premiere later. One Tree Hill, a show The WB hopes will replace Dawson's Creek, debuts during regular launch week on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m., following Gilmore Girls. The marketing machines at The WB will take a rest before launching Tarzan, the net's most talked-about new show due to the hunkiness of its lead, Travis Fimmel. Tarzan
premieres Sunday, Oct. 5, at 9 p.m., following Charmed.

Fox will launch The O.C.
on Tuesday, Aug. 5, well before the start of the fall season, to try to give that show a toehold before baseball takes over the schedule. The rest of Fox's launches are scattered throughout September and October until The Simpsons
finally premieres on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m.