Upfronts 2009: Fox Stocks 52-Week Schedule

A few surprises included in Monday's announcement
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New Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Rice and entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly are set to announce a new 52-week schedule on Monday that is consistent with the network's current lineup -- but with one or two surprises.

According to Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman, the net's goal is to come into the fall with several returning shows and a sense of stability -- "but the feeling of aggressiveness with the schedule."

Like their counterparts at every other network, Fox execs are bracing for a tougher than usual upfront advertising sales climate, which means it isn't a good time to throw skedding curveballs at media buyers.

"Given everything we've been told, this isn't a year to go completely nuts (with your schedule)," Beckman told Daily Variety. "People are looking for stability, familiarity. The more the buyers know what they're going to get, the better off we're all going to be. There might be things on our schedule that surprise some people, and things on the other networks, but nothing insane."

Key to what's expected to be Fox's plan: A fall lineup that almost mirrors its successful midseason, American Idol-fueled sked.

That includes moving So You Think You Can Dance into the fall and likely keeping drama hits House and Bones in their current timeslots. As always, Fox will keep Saturday intact and stick with animation on Sunday.

"What we'd love to be able to do is continue to build a fall schedule that's organic to the rest of our year," Beckman said. "We're going to use assets to create hits."

Beckman wouldn't comment specifically on Fox's new sked, which was believed to be pretty much locked in by Saturday. But he did note that the net has several more pieces to play with in the fall than it's had in past years.

Click here to read the full story at Variety.com

(Michael Schneider writes for B&C’s sister publication, Daily Variety) 

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