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Fox docks ‘Cruise’ for midseason

Bunim-Murray skein to sail on Thursdays

With a tsunami of reality skeins ready to take shore this midseason, Fox has already planted a flag in the sand: Romantic peeper “Love Cruise” sets sail beginning Thursday, Jan. 4.

The Bunim-Murray series will air for seven weeks on Thursdays, although the network hasn’t yet committed to the time period. Fox execs wanted to schedule “Love Cruise” on Thursday night early before the rush of midseason reality skeins begin to show up on schedules around town.

The timeslot for “Love Cruise” also depends heavily on what Fox decides to do with midseason entries “The Lone Gunmen” and the untitled Michael Crichton project.

Few observers expect one, or both, of the series to end up on the night, even though “Gunmen” (a spin-off of “The X-Files”) is tentatively slated for 8 p.m., followed by Crichton at 9. More likely, some sources expect Fox to debut “Gunmen” in the Sunday night “X-Files” timeslot, at least for a few weeks, while “X-Files” is in repeats.

‘Love’ paired off

It’s likely “Love Cruise” will be paired with specials or another reality skein when it debuts in January. The show could end up with some fierce reality competition if CBS ends up scheduling “Survivor 2” on Thursday nights.

“Love Cruise” will follow 16 singles, aged 22 to 35, as they travel on a love boat through the southern Caribbean. The singles — eight men and eight women — share cabins at the beginning of each episode. At the end of the seg, one man and one woman are voted off.

“The Real World” and “Road Rules” creators Jonathan Murray and Mary-Ellis Bunim, who recently produced “Making the Band” for ABC, exec produce “Love Cruise.”

Meanwhile, Fox execs confirmed that reality gamer “Krypton Factor,” originally slated for this summer, has been pushed back. Other alternative skeins still in Fox’s arsenal include “Wanted,” “Mastergame” and “Boot Camp.”

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