Fox Puts 'Hole' in 'Truth' Slot for Fall
Fox is making a late summer switch to its fall schedule, adding game show "Hole in the Wall" to its September lineup.
"Hole," based on a Japanese format in which contestants play a form of human Tetris, will air Thursday nights from 8 to 9 p.m., starting Sept. 11.
It replaces the previously scheduled second season of shock game show "The Moment of Truth," which will return midseason.
"American Idol" producer FremantleMedia North America is behind "Hole," with Stuart Krasnow serving as executive producer.
While most observers had expected "Hole" to hold until Fox had a hole in its lineup later in the season, Fox President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell said he didn't want to wait.
"It seemed like the right time to get it out," Mr. Darnell said, noting that physical competition series are making a comeback in the wake of the success of "Wipeout" on ABC. "Sometimes if things sit on the shelf for too long, they lose their mojo. And we didn't want to risk that there would be other Japanese (style) shows coming out."
What's more, Mr. Darnell said, he was pleased with how well production of "Hole" turned out, calling it "big" and "fun." In addition, Fox executives believe "Moment of Truth" won't be hurt by a delay.
"'Moment' can come back any time," he said. "It's already established."
The scheduling means "Hole" will be pitted against reality granddaddy "Survivor," ABC's "Ugly Betty" and NBC's modestly rated "My Name Is Earl" and newcomer "Kath and Kim." Fox is clearly betting it can capture young male eyeballs that aren't interested in the fare on the competition.
Mr. Darnell said he's cautiously optimistic about "Hole's" ability to break through this fall. The fact that the original Japanese game show has been a hit in several countries—and is a massive viral video phenom—means that in some ways, "The show is pre-sold a little," Mr. Darnell said. "Every kid and every parent of every kid I know has seen a version of the show on YouTube."
Fox has made some changes to the show's format. There's more at stake financially now, with a top prize of $100,000 in a bonus round. And the teams that compete against each other were clearly put together by Mr. Darnell.
"We have sumo wrestlers versus jockeys," he said. "We have a team of beauties and a team of geeks. And we have male body builders going up against a team of little people."
The show still revolves around players contorting their bodies into all sorts of odd shapes in order to fit through a hole in a moving wall. Fox has ordered 26 half-hour epsiodes of "Hole," but will air the show as an hour.