Series premieres to launch on Sept. 17

Fox will use its broadcast of the 59th annual Emmy awards to launch its new fall season, eschewing a super-early rollout in favor of a pretty traditional kickoff to the 2007-08 campaign.

Most of the net’s scripted-series premieres will occur the week of Sept. 17, immediately after its Sept. 16 Emmycast. Ordinarily, that would mean Fox would be debuting most of its shows in-season. But Nielsen has decreed that the new season doesn’t begin until Sept. 24 this year — a change from the usual day-after-the-Emmys launch.

Scripted-series bows start Monday, Sept. 17, with the third-season return of “Prison Break” followed by the start of new drama “K-Ville.” Revamped Wednesday lineup of laffers “Back to You” and ” ‘Til Death,” along with drama “Bones,” will be unveiled Sept. 19.

Sunday stalwarts “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill” and “Family Guy” get animated on Sept. 23, with “Family Guy” airing a special one-hour season premiere (likely a special “Star Wars”-themed episode in which the “Episode IV” saga is retold by the Griffin clan).

Fox is saving its biggest fall gun –“House” — until premiere week, with the medical drama returning to rounds on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9. Frosh drama “New Amsterdam” is slated to bow at 8 the same night, while “American Dad” begins a new season on Sept. 30.

As for Fox’s reality slate, net will try to keep up the momentum of summer skeins such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Hell’s Kitchen” by unveiling new segs of its unscripted skeins a bit early.

Midseason hit “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” will start a new semester on Thursday, Aug, 30, with new companion “Kitchen Nightmares” joining the Thursday lineup at 9 p.m. on Sept. 13. Docusoap “Nashville” starts strumming on Friday, Sept. 14, at 9.

Fox will double-pump “5th Grader” for several weeks in September and October, airing new episodes Fridays at 8. Then, after the net’s baseball playoff coverage, Fox has said “The Search for the Next Great American Band” will air in the early Friday slot. Meanwhile, “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” — which air some original segs all year long — will officially begin their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 8. “Mad TV” and “Talkshow With Spike Feresten” return to latenight on Sept. 15. Comedy repeats fill the Sunday 7-8 p.m. slot in the fall when the net doesn’t have NFL overruns and postgame coverage.

Fox’s sked, of course, will undergo an extreme makeover in January when “American Idol” and “24” return.

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