Fox sked a tall order

Fox Broadcasting Co., preaching patience with new series, said it will still extend 13-episode orders to most of its new series, bucking the move by some of the full-grown webs to short-order their shows.

In confirming a lineup that includes eight new series comprising six of Fox’s 15 hours of programming (Daily Variety, May 25), Fox Entertainment Group president Sandy Grushow also admitted that the weblet has undergone some “growing pains” this season and opted to move “America’s Most Wanted” because “we want into the game” on Tuesday night.

Among his other proclamations, Grushow said that Friday is “up for grabs” with ABC’s sitcom lineup on the wane, that Fox was “through with single-digit shares” from 7-8 p.m. Sunday thanks to “Townsend Television,” and that “In Living Color” will be “back on track” after a tumultuous season during which creator-exec producer Keenen Ivory Wayans and several cast members left the program.

Grushow said Fox’s mandate for next season will be to create programs that help expand beyond its core 18-34 demographic, maintaining what he called “the Fox edge” and consistently providing a distinctive alternative to the other webs.

In terms of returning shows, Fox will order as many as 35 episodes next season (up from 30 last year) of the Spelling TV series “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place,” while “Roc” will go back to a taped format with its move to Tuesday. Grushow added, without providing specifics, that the entire cast of ” 90210″ will return and that Tommy Davidson will be back on “In Living Color.”

New shows, as reported earlier, are sitcoms “Buddy Blues” (Disney), “Sinbad” (Disney), “My Girls” (Lorimar) and “Daddy Dearest” (HBO Independent Prods.); the variety show “Townsend Television” (Tinsel Townsend Prods.); Friday-night dramas “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” (Warner Bros.) and “The X-Files” (Twentieth); and the Fox News magazine “Front Page.”

Back-ups include the TriStar Hammer vehicle “City High,” Henry Winkler in Disney’s “Monty,” stand-up Jeff Garlin in “My Kind of Town” (Witt-Thomas), the passed-on CBS pilot “South Central,” the Sam Raimi-Sam Hamm Universal drama “Mantis,” which will star Carl Lumbly;and the Barbour-Langley Prods. reality shows “Code 3” and “Cop Files,” the latter hosted by Richard Roundtree.

A George Carlin pilot from Sam Simon of “The Simpsons” is also still under consideration, and Grushow said Fox will continue to develop series year-round. He added that “South Central” was picked up because it “deserved a shot on somebody’s schedule,” not because it comes from sister Fox Inc. division Twentieth TV.

On the longform side, Fox has ordered three two-hour movies from Columbia Pictures TV based on “The Good Policeman,” a pilot starring Ron Silver, and announced its first miniseries — a four-hour sci-fi adventure from exec producer Francis Ford Coppola and writer-producer Bruce Wagner (“Wild Palms”).

Fox chairman Lucie Salhany denied that returning an hour to affiliates Sunday had anything to do with clearances for late night entry “The Chevy Chase Show,” saying the goal was to free up the hour for local news.

Fox was down 7% during the ’92-93 season among adults 18-49, which Grushow attributed to the addition of Tuesday and Wednesday. Fox adds its movie as a weekly entry in June, marking its seventh night of programming.

The new comedy starring “Sinbad,” from former “Night Court” producers Larry Strawther and Gary Murphy, will make its debut in August behind “The Simpsons.” Fox has used early rollouts in the past to generate sampling but wouldn’t discuss premiere dates for other new series.

Fox will supply itself six series totaling five hours, while Disney and HBO each have three shows on the fall roster. A complete list of Fox’s lineup follows (* denotes new shows):


“Fox Night at the Movies,” 8.


“Roc,” 8; *”Buddy Blues,” 8:30; “America’s Most Wanted,” 9.


“Beverly Hills, 90210,” 8; “Melrose Place,” 9.


“The Simpsons,” 8; *”Sinbad,” 8:30; “In Living Color,” 9; “Herman’s Head,” 9: 30.


*”The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.,” 8; *”X-Files,” 9.


“Cops,” 8; *”Front Page,” 9.


*”Townsend Television,” 7; “Martin,” 8; *”My Girls,” 8:30; “Married … With Children,” 9; *”Daddy Dearest,” 9:30.

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