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UPFRONT: Fox Unveils 2007-2008 Schedule - Broadcasting & Cable

UPFRONT: Fox Unveils 2007-2008 Schedule

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Stability is the watchword for Fox next season.

The network has returned 17 shows, with The Winner still on the bench and The War at Home gone.

Fox plans to premiere only three of seven new scripted series in the fall while loading up the primetime schedule with reality—a move it hopes will effectively counter what has been a bleak reality for Fox in previous fourth quarters, when series tanked around baseball preemptions.

With Fox projected to win the 18-49 race this season by .03 points without the Super Bowl (the largest margin of victory by any network in five years), thanks once again to its American Idol juggernaut, its program schedulers are hoping to be helped in the fall by a reduction in baseball preemptions.

Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori told reporters Thursday that preemptions will drop from 26 to 14 nights, with only one possible for Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Without as much baseball, he noted, Fox won’t have to start the season as early as it has the past few years, when many fall series premiered in August. This year, Fox will eye either late August or early September starts.

Another goal is to have as much original programming as possible year-round, according to Liguori.

This fall, he is giving 20th’s high-profile Kelsey Grammer-Patricia Heaton workplace comedy Back to You the 8 p.m. lead-off slot on Wednesday nights, leading into Sony’s returning sophomore ‘Til Death—making them the only comedies in the hour.

Although it is new, Liguori says he is confident having Back to You as the Wednesday night leadoff, since the stars are so well-known that “it is like bringing back a returning show.”

Back to You is only one of three new scripted series debuting this fall, a departure from Fox’s strategy in previous years. It has slotted 20th’s post-Katrina cop drama K-ville at 9 p.m. Mondays leading out of Prison Break, making them the only two network dramas from 8-10.

The new supernatural cop series New Amsterdam kicks off Tuesdays against CBS’ NCIS. The hit House remains Tuesdays at 9 throughout the season, and this fall will square off against one returning and two new dramas.

Going to all reality on Thursday-Saturday this fall, Fox put Hell’s Kitchen spin-off Kitchen Nightmares behind the returning Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader on Thursdays, making the 9 p.m. entry the only reality show in the hour.

Friday’s surprise 9 p.m. series, Nashville, is a “docu-soap” chronicling a group of “ambitious young people trying to make their mark on the music industry and Nashville society.”

Liguori said he “fell in love with it” based on a short presentation during screenings. American Idol spin-off The Search for the Next Great American Band (working title) will lead into it, as Fox seeks to capture younger viewers on a night dominated by older-skewing female shows.

Two more dramas and two additional comedies will launch midseason, when American Idol and 24—facing a strong challenge this season from NBC’s Heroes—kick into gear. Liguori addressed creative concerns with 24 this season, saying the network and producers recognize the problems and plan to step up their games in the fall.

Among major sporting events in the winter and spring, Fox will also have the Super Bowl as it strives for its fourth straight title in adults 18-49.

The midseason dramas are the courtroom-centered Canterbury’s Law from Sony Pictures Television, which comes from the producing team of Denis Leary and Jim Serpico.

Fox will mix it up on Sundays, with the Terminator-inspired The Sarah Connor Chronicles from Warner Bros. TV running at 9 p.m. in the spring, leading out of an earlier block of animation. It will air with 13 straight original episodes.

A couple of the animated shows in development could still be picked up even though none were announced. Liguori called it a “high bar to jump over,” since they would have to replace existing candidates.

A spring launch is planned for The Rules for Starting Over (working title), a 20th Century Fox Television series starring Craig Bierko and Rashida Jones in the Farrelly Brothers’ comedic take on a group of 30-somethings trying to find true love again.

Fox is holding back its other comedy, The Return of Jezebel James (working title) from Regency TV, until spring.


FOX


PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: FALL 2007

(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PMPRISON BREAK

9:00-10:00 PMK-VILLE

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PMNEW AMSTERDAM

9:00-10:00 PMHOUSE

WEDNESDAY

8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PM’TIL DEATH

9:00-10:00 PMBONES

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PMARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?

9:00-10:00 PMKITCHEN NIGHTMARES

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PMTHE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN

BAND (working title)

9:00-10:00 PMNASHVILLE (working title)

SATURDAY

8:00-8:30 PMCOPS

8:30-9:00 PMCOPS

9:00-10:00 PMAMERICA’S MOST WANTED:AMERICA FIGHTS

BACK

SUNDAY

7:00-8:00 PMTHE OT (NFL post-game)

8:00-8:30 PMTHE SIMPSONS

8:30-9:00 PMKING OF THE HILL

9:00-9:30 PMFAMILY GUY

9:30-10:00 PMAMERICAN DAD


FOX PRIMETIME SCHEDULE: BEGINNING JANUARY 2008

(All Times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PMK-VILLE (January)/PRISON BREAK (Spring)

9:00-10:00 PM24

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PMAMERICAN IDOL

9:00-10:00 PMHOUSE

WEDNESDAY (January)

8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PM’TIL DEATH

9:00-10:00 PMAMERICAN IDOL

WEDNESDAY (Spring)

8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PMTHE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (working title)

9:00-9:30 PMAMERICAN IDOL Results Show

9:30-10:00 PM’TIL DEATH

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PMARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?

9:00-10:00 PMCANTERBURY’S LAW

FRIDAY (Spring)

8:00-9:00 PMBONES

9:00-10:00 PMNEW AMSTERDAM

SATURDAY

8:00-8:30 PMCOPS

8:30-9:00 PMCOPS

9:00-10:00 PMAMERICA’S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS

BACK

SUNDAY (Spring)

7:00-7:30 PMKING OF THE HILL

7:30-8:00 PMAMERICAN DAD

8:00-8:30 PMTHE SIMPSONS

8:30-9:00 PMFAMILY GUY

9:00-10:00 PMTHE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

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