Fox sked to get a head start

Fox Broadcasting Co. will begin rolling out its fall lineup the week of Aug. 22 with the debut of three new series. Four returning shows also premiere next month.

One of the weblet’s biggest gambits, Warner Bros. TV’s Western “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.,” will take off with a two-hour movie in its regular 8 p.m. Friday slot Aug. 27. Disney’s “The Sinbad Show” bows the night before, following “The Simpsons,” and the Lorimar comedy “My Girls” moves in behind an original “Martin” in the 8 p.m. Sunday hour Aug. 22.

Trying to establish its new schedule, Fox will also move several returning series to new time periods during the summer, shifting “America’s Most Wanted” to Tuesday at 9 p.m. on July 27. Movies replace the crime-stopping real-ity show from July 30 until “Brisco County” turns up in August.

“Most Wanted” will start its season Aug. 31, following the season premiere of the comedy “Roc.” The comedy “Bakersfield” (nee “Buddy Blues”) will eventually lead off the night, with “Roc” to air at 8:30 p.m.

Original episodes of “Cops”– which traditionally airs 40 weeks of fresh programming — start busting down doors Aug. 7. Repeats of “Herman’s Head” shift to its new 9:30 p.m. Thursday slot starting Aug. 12, though the show will continue Sundays through Aug. 29, until the Richard Lewis-Don Rickles pairing “Daddy Dearest” takes its place behind “Married … With Children” in September.

Fox will also seek to prime “Martin” for its move to Sunday with a theme “My Favorite ‘Martin’ Week,” airing the program six times from July 25-29 on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. The approach is similar to NBC’s summer stripping of “Quantum Leap” in past years.

The early rollout plan, discussed during Fox’s affiliates meeting by Fox Entertainment Group chief Sandy Grushow (Daily Variety, June 4), will allow greater opportunity to promote new shows and try and establish viewing habits before all original programming turns up in the rough-and-tumble fall period.

Other networks are also expected to weigh in with early scheduling moves, among them NBC’s planned shift of “Mad About You” into its fall Thursday slot.

Aware of the logjam of new series, the Big Three networks will also stagger premieres from August through October, such as ABC’s decision to delay most of its Saturday lineup until Oct. 30 and CBS’ early debut of “The Trouble With Larry” while holding Wednesday running mates “The Nanny” and “South of Sunset” until October (Daily Variety, July 2, July 8). Fox’s Friday movies will kick off with the broadcast premiere of the studio’s feature “Nuns on the Run,” followed by repeats of the “Fox Night at the Movies” made-fors “Robin Hood, “”Frankenstein: The College Years” and “Hi Honey, I’m Dead.”

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