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FOX: One Monster Hit Show, Two Different Schedules

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Fox needs to rebuild Fridays, a night on which the network has traditionally done well with shows such as “The X-Files.”

In addition, Sundays could use at least one more half-hour or a switch to a drama at 9 p.m.

Fox also needs to focus on the Thursday 9 p.m. time slot, in which nothing has built on “The O.C.” at 8 p.m.

Another of the network’s big challenges continues to be developing fall programming to run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays before the ratings giant “American Idol” returns at midseason. For the fall, the network is said to be high on the Darren Star/20th Century Fox TV comedy “Kitchen Confidential” and 20th’s procedural drama “Murder Book.” But with new Entertainment President Peter Liguori on the job for just a few weeks, the new direction of the network is unknown, including how Fox plans to debut shows around the baseball playoffs.

“I don’t know if what they started off with is the direction they are going to continue with,” one talent agent said.

Fox has picked up 13 episodes of the drama “Prison Break” to air in late August or early September. It could replace “Idol” on Tuesdays.

With so much riding on the continued success of a single show, the agent said, Fox has to be happy with the recent success of its animated half-hours “Family Guy” and “American Dad” on Sundays and the surprise Tuesday 9 p.m. hit “House,” which follows “Idol.”

“They have at least a few places where they have stuck a stick in the ground,” he said.

“For the past three years it’s been a tale of two seasons for Fox,” Steve Sternberg, executive VP and director of audience analysis at Magna Global, said in his annual prime-time development report. Mr. Sternberg said Fox’s great success with “Idol” in the winter and spring contrasts with its fourth-place finish in the adults 18 to 49 demo for the fourth quarter of 2004.