Unveiling their first schedule in a post-“X-Files” and “Ally McBeal” world, Fox execs said they’re hungry for a few new franchise hits.
Looking to rebuild after a difficult year, Fox will launch seven new shows this fall — and make changes every night of the week except Saturday.
“The Fox schedule speaks to a commitment of nurturing developing assets that will be viable on our schedule for years to come,” said Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman.
That includes the return of cult action drama “24” for its second season and a renewal for promising laffer “Grounded for Life,” which the net hopes to grow behind “That ’70s Show.”
Big sked moves begin with “Malcolm in the Middle’s” ascension to the “X-Files” timeslot, Sundays at 9 p.m., as Fox returns to an all-comedy block on the night.
“We’re not only going up against drama on the broadcast networks but also HBO,” said Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow. “Up against dark, heavy dramas, there was nothing lighthearted Sundays at 9. It just seems like a wonderful alternative for families.”
The departure of “The X-Files” also leaves room for two new laffers on the night: 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks’ “Oliver Beene,” from Steven Levitan and Howard Gewirtz, and 20th/Granada/Universal’s “The Grubbs,” from Joshua Sternin, Jeff Ventimilia and Ann Johnson.
Net is also taking a chance Wednesdays at 8 p.m. by moving “Bernie Mac” to kick off the night, which also includes new 20th variety skein “Cedric the Entertainer” (which also comes from Matt Wickline, John Bowman and Stan Lathan) and Warner Bros. actioner “Fastlane,” from McG, John McNamara and Daniel Rappaport.
Then there’s Friday, which Grushow hopes will “make a lot of noise” with two new entries: Joss Whedon’s new actioner “Firefly,” from 20th, and Regency’s “John Doe,” from Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson and Mimi Leder.
Mondays bring David E. Kelley’s new legal skein “Girls Club.”
“When you look at what we had to accomplish, replacing two anchor shows, we had to make aggressive moves,” Berman said of the new lineup.
Sked slotted around Series
Hoping to launch the fall sked around Fox’s coverage of Major League Baseball — and avoid repeating last fall’s disappointing start — Grushow and Berman said the net would premiere four nights before the playoffs start (Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) and two nights post-World Series (Monday and Sunday).
Thursdays will start in December or January with two new alternative series, “30 Seconds to Fame,” from Explorer Production Group, and “Meet the Marks,” from Vin Di Bona. Night will also include the 20th drama “Septuplets,” from Kip Koenig and Dawn Parouse.
As for midseason, net has the return of “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” in its arsenal, as well as the 20th comedy “The Pitts” from Mike Scully and Julie Thacker.
Net is also considering the Paramount/Littlefield drama “Keen Eddie” and 20th/Regency’s “Time Tunnel.”