Fox plans summer launches


Fox will launch several of its new scripted series this summer instead of
waiting until fall, when its schedule gets almost immediately interrupted by
Major League Baseball, said Sandy Grushow, chairman of Fox Television Entertainment Group, at
the winter press tour in Hollywood Saturday.

"It's not an act of scheduling genius to launch shows two weeks before
baseball, pull them off the air for four weeks and then put them back on in
November sweeps and expect them to succeed," Grushow said.

"Clearly, the strategy this past season was not a successful one," he added.

To accomplish that, Fox has already ordered seven pilots, which has required
a "significant monetary commitment," said Gail Berman, president of
entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co.

Scripted shows on Fox could premiere in July or August, although Grushow said
the timing isn't final.

Fox had difficulty launching any new shows this past season, canceling David
E. Kelley's girls club after only two outings.

It has seen success with sophomore thriller 24, which has improved its
performance this year in adults 18 through 49 by 21 percent and in adults 18 through 34 by 24 percent.

To try to continue capitalizing on that success, Fox will air the second
round of American Idol: Search for a Superstar Tuesdays at 8 p.m., leading in to 24
and almost guaranteeing Tuesdays for Fox in key adult

Fox is moving That 70s Show to Wednesdays at 8 p.m., followed by the
American Idol results show at 8:30 p.m.

That will lead in to The Bernie Mac Show and Cedric the Entertainer at 9
p.m. and 9:30 p.m., both of whoich face extremely tough competition from ABC's
The Bachelor franchise and NBC's The West Wing.

Berman hopes audiences will be drawn to Bernie and Cedric because they are
the only comedies in the time slot.

Fox also has problems on Thursday night. Thursdays at 8 p.m. lack a
regularly scheduled show from Fox, although Grushow said the network is
considering double-running reality hit Joe Millionaire in the slot.

Newsmagazine The Pulse will air Thursdays at 9 p.m., facing NBC's
Will & Grace and CBS' Without a Trace.

Grushow also said Joe Millionaire, which has been a ratings smash
right out of the gate, is a "very profitable" show that attracts adults 18 through 49
with household incomes of $75,000 and higher.

That goes against conventional wisdom, which claims that reality shows don't draw
top-drawer viewers.

According to Grushow, Joe Millionaire is the third-highest-rated show
in the demographic, following only Friends and ER.