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Fox greenlights J.J. Abrams’ ‘Fringe’

Whedon's 'Dollhouse' comes in midseason

Fox isn’t expected to mess with its fall schedule — but that didn’t stop it from kicking off a flurry of pickup activity over the weekend.

Net is expected to continue the playbook from this past year: Keep new entries at bay until midseason, when “American Idol” can help bolster those new shows.

Among the greenlights: The J.J. Abrams entry “Fringe,” which follows the exploits of a young female FBI agent who tackles unexplained medical and scientific phenomena.

Hour-long skein could potentially be paired with “Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Monday nights — a high-octane night for Fox, which also will bring back “24” and “Prison Break,” perhaps on the same night, later this season.

Also coming in midseason — and perhaps also on the night — Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated “Dollhouse,” which already had an episodic order heading into the upfronts.

Meanwhile, there’s a good chance Fox will opt to stick with comedies on Wednesday, with “‘Til Death” returning for a third season at 8 p.m., followed by a new entry at 8:30 p.m. (now that “Back to You” has been axed by the net).

“‘Til Death” was originally considered a long shot for renewal, but the casting of “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” J.B. Smoove brought new attention to the show.

At 8:30, contenders include “The Inn.” Multicamera comedy, starring Niecy Nash and Jerry O’Connell, is described as an “Upstairs, Downstairs”-esque vehicle set in a hip Gotham hotel.

“Inn” hails from scribe Abraham Higginbotham (“Arrested Development”), 20th Century Fox TV, Reveille and Principato-Young Entertainment. Its pilot was helmed by former “Arrested” star Jason Bateman.

Also on the comedy front, Fox is still mulling the fate of “Starting Under,” the half-hour starring Bernie Mac about a blue-collar man who’s forced to work for his son when he business closes.

It’s still uncertain whether exec producer Bruce Helford plans to depart the show, or if a new team will join him on the show — which had a 13-episode order. Net is said to still be high on Mac, who spent several years on Fox earlier this decade.

Gordon Ramsay-fronted reality skein “Kitchen Nightmares” also might end up on the night.

Speaking of reality, Fox isn’t expected to launch any new entries in the fall. But the net already has several up its sleeves: Besides “Nightmares,” theres “Moment of Truth,” “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” (Of course, all bets are off in January, when “American Idol” returns).

As for animation, beyond the “Family Guy” spinoff “The Cleveland Show,” pick ups include “Class Dismissed” (previously titled “Sit Down, Shut Up”)

From Sony Pictures TV and 20th Century Fox TV, show is exec produced by Mitchell Hurwitz and features Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler and Nick Kroll among its voice cast. Toon vets Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein have also been recruited as exec producers.

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