Fox fuels J.J. Abrams’ ‘Fringe’

Whedon's 'Dollhouse' expected for midseason

Fox rounds out upfront week today with a sked presentation at Gotham’s City Center that is expected to put the spotlight on J.J. Abrams’ drama “Fringe” as the net’s hot new prospect for the fall and Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” for midseason.

Speculation is that “Fringe” will land on Monday in the fall in tandem with “Prison Break” or “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” The betting is that Fox won’t want to mess with success on Tuesday and will keep its drama combo of “Bones” and “House” intact on the night for the fall.

Wednesday seems likely to remain Fox’s live-action comedy night, though the net may shuffle things in light of CBS’ decision to sked laffers in the 8-9 p.m. hour next season. Newcomer “The Inn,” starring Niecy Nash and Jerry O’Connell, is likely destined for a pairing with third-year sitcom “‘Til Death.” Wednesdays at 9 p.m. could go to “Sarah Connor” if “Fringe” winds up mated with “Prison Break” on Monday.

In the fall, Thursday and Friday are expected to retain some combination of nonscripted skeins. Fox has a strong reality bench that includes “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Moment of Truth” and “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.”

Sunday is set to remain status quo with a stack of animated comedies. Newcomers “Class Dismissed” and “Family Guy” spinoff “Cleveland” won’t be ready to bow until the first quarter at the earliest.

Meanwhile, “Dollhouse” is sure to land a plum spot in January, when “24” and “American Idol” return to the lineup.

(Michael Schneider in New York contributed to this report.)

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