Fox schedules medical drama after game

Paging Dr. House: Fox’s No. 1 drama, “House M.D.,” is on call Super Bowl Sunday.

Fox announced Thursday that the hit medical skein, which stars Hugh Laurie as a cranky doc, had scored the plum postgame timeslot Feb. 3.

Nets usually wait until much closer to the big game before announcing which skein will be chosen for the showcase — which always promises big viewer numbers. But Fox was looking to make a big splash at its upfront presentation Thursday afternoon. Fox Entertainment prexy Peter Liguori made the announcement while opening his speech at New York’s City Center.

Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman said the decision to put “House” there was born out of trying to grab the most ad dollars possible with the slot.

“Of all the shows we have, this is the biggest scripted one,” Beckman said. “And to maximize revenue, you want to put a big show behind the Super Bowl.”

Nets have avoided launching new shows in the post-Super Bowl slot for the most part (although Fox did so with “Family Guy” in 2000). Instead, webheads have recently chosen series that were already performing well — and looking to jump to the next level.

That’s what happened with “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006, when ABC turned what was a hit show into a monster hit show. This year, CBS tried the same thing with “Criminal Minds.”

“House” doesn’t necessarily need the boost: It’s already a smash, nearly on par in the ratings most Tuesdays these days with “American Idol.”

When Fox last aired the Super Bowl, in 2005, the net showed “The Simpsons” after the game — along with a special preview of “American Dad.”

The scheduling plan is also good news for NBC Universal TV Studio, which produces the show. “House” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m.. It is exec produced by David Shore, Paul Attanasio, Katie Jacobs, Bryan Singer and Daniel Sackheim.

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