Fox squeezing 'OC' specials

“The OC” will be a part of Fox’s September schedule after all.

Fans of the last year’s hit drama will still have to wait until Nov. 4 for the skein’s official second season premiere. But in a bid to build awareness for the show’s return — and promote its move to Thursday nights at 8 — Fox will air two hourlong “OC” specials on Sept. 16 and 23.

Brad Lachman (in association with Warner Bros. TV) is exec producing the specials, which will feature fresh appearances from all of the show’s key cast as well as Josh Schwartz, the skein’s creator. Cast members are being given extra compensation for their participation, and WBTV will own all ancillary rights to the specials.

As for content, one of the hours will chronicle “The OC’s” quick rise to pop culture phenom status, detailing the skein’s impact on fashion, music and other aspects of society. The second special will be a sort of “day in the life” of the show, with cast interviews and a sneak peak at the show’s second season.

Fox is no stranger to the strategy of using specials to promote — or extend the lifespan of — its sudsers. Net aired regular behind-the-scenes looks at “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Melrose Place,” “Party of Five” and even “Ally McBeal” during much of the 1990s.

In addition to the specials, Fox’s extensive promo campaign to hype the move of “The OC” includes a heavy Internet presence and promos tied to the release of a new “OC” soundtrack CD and WBTV’s release of the show’s first season on DVD.

Both WBTV and Fox declined comment.

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