Fox Picks Up Five for Fall


Fox has picked up four prime-time shows for fall and MadTV for three more seasons.

Returning in prime are veterans The Bernie Mac Show, 24, and Malcolm in the Middle, joined by freshman The O.C. They join That 70's Show, The Simpsons and King of the Hill, which have already been re-upped for 2004-2005.

That leaves Arrested Development, Tru Calling and Cracking Up without new-season orders.

The first two are said to have a good chance at renewal. Tru Calling did well with young female demos, points out a network spokesman, while Arrested Development has been a critical, if not ratings, hit. Cracking Up isn't all it's cracked up to be and will not return.

The all-powerful American Idol will, of course, be back, though not until the spring. Fox has said it doesn't want to overuse it--a la ABC's wall-to-wall Millionaire of a few years back--and would have to preempt a fall outing for almost a month anyway due to baseball playoff coverage.

Still, the temptation must be great given Idol's performance of late. Tuesday night's show beat all the other broadcast networks combined in 18-49-year-old viewers.

MadTV is now in its ninth season and will be around until at least its 12th. It is the top late night show with teens, says Fox, and number two in 18-34s.