Broadcasters Rearm for '04


Hoping to bolster their sagging prime time ratings, Fox, NBC, ABC and The WB are revamping their schedules with a mix of old and new.

Fox has ordered a full season of the critically acclaimed Arrested Development, although the sitcom's title also describes its so-so ratings. The show airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. ET after Malcolm in the Middle.

"I think it's the best new comedy on any network," says Sandy Grushow, chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group. "In fact, I think it's the best new comedy on television since Curb Your Enthusiasm. We are going to give Arrested Development
every chance to become the success it deserves to be."

To give the show more exposure, Fox will run a mini-marathon on New Year's Eve from 8 to 10 p.m. ET.

At NBC, the network will premiere The Apprentice, featuring real estate mogul Donald Trump, on Thursday, Jan. 8 following Friends.

After an hour-and-a-half premiere, The Apprentice
moves to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. for the remainder of its 15-episode run. That bumps Ed
to Fridays at 9 p.m., a slot it will share with Miss Match, keeping both shows in originals for the rest of the year.

The Lyon's Den, starring Rob Lowe, is returning in December for another try, and Crossing Jordan
is on tap for a midseason return now that star Jill Hennessy has had her baby.

ABC will air The D.A.
in midseason, with a total of four episodes ordered so far. The show is set in Los Angeles and the world's busiest district attorney's office. Wings
star Steven Weber stars. James Duff is head writer and executive producer.

With Tarzan
swinging off The WB, The Surreal Life
and High School Reunion
are taking over the Sunday 9 p.m. time slot.

The Surreal Life's second go-round premieres on The WB on Sunday, Jan. 11. Once that show's six episode run is completed—including a three-episode rebroadcast marathon against the Super Bowl on CBS—High School Reunion
will return for its second installment.

The WB entered the season with Fearless
on tap for midseason, but now the show might not appear at all this year. Says co-CEO Jordan Levin, "We're still waiting for the studio to tell us if it's going to be ready for midseason." Fearless
is executive-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and is from Warner Bros. Television.