×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox’s on deck circle

Specs, pics pinch hit for delayed fall sked

HOLLYWOOD — Forced to delay most of its series debuts until after the World Series, Fox hopes to avoid singing the fall blues by stunting with a mix of original reality specials, made-for-TV flicks and theatricals.

Fox execs say the strategy is necessary to keep the net in business while its major rivals premiere their new and returning series.

It won’t be easy: For the first time, Fox will be the sole network airing baseball playoffs — including both league championships — this fall. Before Fox picked up the entire Major League Baseball package this year, NBC shared the playoff preemption burden.

Back then, with two nets staggering their launches, everyone had room to breathe during the crowded fall rollouts. This year, Fox execs wonder whether viewers will still be eager to sample new shows in late October.

“It’s going to be tough, when you’re the odd person out, not being able to get your series going,” said Fox exec VP of strategic program planning Preston Beckman. “We’re in a more difficult position than the other networks because of baseball. It makes it tough for us to think about a traditional premiere week. But we don’t think we’ll be left at the starting gate this year.”

Instead, the net has devised a temporary plan to avoid simply airing repeats opposite the other guys’ original programming in the weeks leading up to the baseball playoffs and World Series.

That includes premiering telepic “The Rats” on Monday, Sept. 17 — the first night of premiere week. Pic stars Vincent Spano in a story about evil rats who overrun New York.

To promote “The Rats” (formerly titled “The Colony”), Fox will air its broadcast premiere of 1998’s 2-hour “The X-Files” feature film on Friday, Sept. 14, as well as a repeat run of “Independence Day” on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Specs instead of drama

Fox will avoid airing low-rated repeats of “Boston Public” and “Ally McBeal” (which don’t premiere until Oct. 22) on subsequent Mondays as well. Instead, the net has a grab bag of specials in the works, including “Who Wants to Be a Princess.” “Princess,” which features 30 women competing to win a date with a real-life prince, may wind up on Monday, Sept. 24.

The net also taps its arsenal of theatricals over the first few Sundays of the season, starting with the broadcast premiere of “Rush Hour” on Sept. 23. Fox will also rebroadcast “Jerry McGuire” on Sept. 30. Most of the web’s Sunday lineup returns Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, as previously announced, Fox will go ahead and bow Tuesday laffers “That ’70s Show” and “Undeclared” starting Tuesday, Sept. 18. The net’s Wednesday 8 p.m. hour, consisting of comedy repeats and “Grounded for Life,” return the following night. The Friday night sked (“Dark Angel” and “Pasadena”) also bows during premiere week.

‘Love’ for reality

Fox also hopes the seductive reality skein “Love Cruise,” which airs on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. the first two weeks of the season, will keep the web competitive with its network brethren.

“We want to make that show an event the first two weeks of the season, which is why it’s on twice a week,” Beckman said.

The net is still mulling its Thursday plan, but is leaning toward movies or one-hour specials.

By avoiding series repeats the first few weeks of the season, Fox execs hope to avoid the net’s traditional fall ratings woes. In recent years, Fox has stumbled early out of the box, only to come back strong midseason with late bows such as “Malcolm in the Middle.”

“Internally, that’s something we’ve talked about quite a bit,” Beckman said. “That’s why it was important for us to come up with a game plan for those first two weeks.”

More TV

  • Us Television Writers and Producers Maria

    Mad Men’s’ Andre, Maria Jacquemetton Set for Series Mania’s UGC Writers Campus

    MADRID — André and Maria Jacquemetton, the Emmy and WGA Award-winning writer-producers of AMC’s “Mad Men” and consulting producers on Amazon Studios’ “The Romanoffs,” will serve as Guests of Honor at Series Mania’s UGC Writers Campus, a workshop whose participants include Denmark’s Christina Miller-Harris and Israel’s Noy Carmel. The Jacquemettons will deliver a masterclass and [...]

  • China Plans Remake of BBC Time-Travel

    China Plans Remake of BBC Time-Travel Cop Show ‘Life on Mars’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    A Chinese “Life on Mars” is in the works after BBC Studios and Phoenix Entertainment inked a deal to create a Mandarin-language version of the time-travel cop series. BBC Studios will officially unveil the format deal at Showcase, its annual programming market for international buyers, which is now underway in Liverpool, England. “Life on Mars” [...]

  • DF-10193 – L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor),

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Leads MPSE Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed up love from Cinema Audio Society sound mixers with a pair of honors at the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Sunday night. The musical biopic scored wins for dialogue and ADR as well as sound editing in a musical. The film is nominated for sound editing at the Oscars [...]

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    WGA Awards 2019: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards

    In a pair of upsets, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has won the Writers Guild of America’s adapted screenplay award for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and Bo Burnham has won the original screenplay award for “Eighth Grade.” The major television trophies went to “The Americans,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Homeland” and “Barry” for the [...]

  • 50 Cent Power

    NYPD Officer Under Investigation for Allegedly Telling Police to Shoot 50 Cent 'on Sight'

    A New York City precinct commander is under investigation for allegedly telling officers to shoot rapper 50 Cent on sight, a police rep confirmed to Variety on Sunday. “The matter is under internal review,” an NYPD rep said, declining to answer further questions. Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez is accused of telling officers during a June 7 roll [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content