Kelley, Fox net weigh second, thinner ‘Ally’

Duplicate skein could be halved, new footage added

NEW YORK — Fox Broadcasting is mulling an idea by “Ally McBeal” creator David E. Kelley to remix repeat and never-aired footage of “Ally” into half-hour episodes that will air Tuesday at 8 p.m., one day after the original one-hour version.

While Fox has made no decision yet, the unusual experiment would allow News Corp. to test the viability of “Ally McBeal” in the half-hour format, which could significantly boost the show’s potential to draw top coin in syndication. Half-hour shows tend to sell better in syndication because they fit into the lucrative access slots leading into primetime.

The plan would also save Fox money because the web would be repurposing both used and unused footage, which costs less than an original series. Fox could also use its leverage to force advertisers who want their commercials to air during “Ally” to buy both shows.

If Fox decides against the “Ally” remix plan this fall, the web still may try it midseason, insiders say.

Separately, Fox is kicking around a plan to run young, male-skewing comedies Thursday from 9-10 p.m. “Family Guy” and “Action” are both strong contenders for that block.

Fox hasn’t decided which shows it will order yet, but new series still high on the list include “Manchester Prep,” “Get Real,” “Harsh Realm,” “Time of Your Life” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Most of Fox’s reality shows, including “Guinness World Records,” “Fox Files” and “World’s Wildest Police Videos,” are not expected to make the fall cut, but may be ordered as backups.