Online Exclusive: Interactive News

FOX MOVES AWAY FROM REALITY SHOWS FOR FALL

Upfront Presentation Stresses Hold on 18-34 Demographic

By Published on .

Most Popular
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- News Corp.'s Fox network made the final upfront presentation to advertisers and media buyers yesterday, wrapping up a week of show-and-tell events by the broadcast networks.
May 20, 2005
THE TV UPFRONT IS OFF AND RUNNING
Start of ABC Deals Is Surprisingly Swift
May 19, 2005
CBS COMES OUT SWINGING AT UPFRONT PRESENTATION
Les Moonves Bashes Cable TV and Rival NBC
May 18, 2005
ABC'S UPFRONT PRESENTATION A 'COMEBACK IN PROGRESS'
Network Cuts Include 'Extreme Makeover' and 'Blind Justice'
May 17, 2005
A HUMBLE NBC ADMITS PROBLEMS IN UPFRONT PRESENTATION
'The Contender,' 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' and 'American Dreams' Get Axed

Media agencies were generally impressed with Fox's prime-time fall schedule, citing strong new dramas and praising the network's continued commitment to taking risks and being different.

Fox, which opened its upfront presentation at Mnahattan's City Center with a Star Wars spoof called "Share Wars," stressed not only its delivery of the 18-to-34 adult demographic that many marketers chase, but also its new media offerings for advertisers.

Addressable advertising
Sales president Jon Nesvig mentioned the network's ability to deliver tailored ad messages using technology from Visible World, a TV technology company whose Intellispot system creates and delivers TV ads that change message and creative elements to suit different viewers.

Mr. Nesvid also the high level of involvement Fox viewers have with the network's shows. For instance, winners on the talent search hit American Idol are decided by people who vote either by phone or text messaging, while Fox.com and IdolonFox.com also attract significant traffic.

No new reality shows
However, judging by the new season lineup, Fox is attempting to attract a wider audience. One indication is the total absence of new reality shows, which skew young, from the fall schedule. Instead, the network is banking on five new dramas and two comedies to carry it through to mid-season, when ratings champ American Idol returns next January.

Gone are the plastic surgery makeover shows such as The Swan and the controversial one-offs like Who's Your Daddy? In their place are a slew of dramas hoping to gain some momentum from existing hits such as House and The O.C.

Talked about shows
Among the more talked about shows at the after-party event were Prison Break, a series about a man who voluntarily goes to prison to try and bust out his innocent brother. (One ad buyer wondered about the potential of the series as a weekly concept, saying, "Are they going to try and break out every week?") Reunion follows a group of friends from high school to their 20-year reunion.

Demonstrating its determination to take risks, Fox is bringing back Arrested Development, a hit with the critics but not with a wide audience. The network is giving it a prime spot on Mondays at 8 p.m. in fall.

An analysis of the new Fox schedule by Magna Global praised the Sunday night "Animation Domination" block, which is working well with the under-35-year-old set despite a ratings drop-off for the long-running show The Simpsons.

Baseball coverage
In a note issued today, Magna Global, part of Interpublic Group of Cos. warned, "For the past three years, it's been a tale of two seasons for Fox and it looks like a fourth year is in store." Fox earlier admitted to this weakness and had vowed to create some "appointment viewing" ahead of its coverage of Major League Baseball's playoffs, which begin in October and effectively interrupt the fall schedule.

Many Fox watchers said the new prime-time schedule is simpler to understand than last year's, when former entertainment president Gail Berman set out a 52-week schedule that left even some Fox executives confused.

The new Fox prime-time schedule:

Monday
8 p.m. Arrested Development
8:30 p.m. Kitchen Confidential
9 p.m. Prison Break
~ ~ ~
From January
8 p.m. House
9 p.m. 24

Tuesday
8 p.m. Bones
9 p.m. House
~ ~ ~
From January
8 p.m. American Idol
9 p.m. Bones

Wednesday
8 p.m. That 70s Show
8:30 p.m. Stacked
9 p.m. Head Cases
~ ~ ~
From January
8 p.m. That '70s Show
8:30 p.m. Stacked
9 p.m. American Idol
9:30 p.m. The Loop

Thursday
8 p.m. The O.C.
9 p.m. Reunion

Friday
8 p.m. Bernie Mac
8:30 p.m. Malcolm in the Middle
9 p.m. The Gate

Saturday
8 p.m. Cops
9 p.m. America's Most Wanted

Sunday
7 p.m. Animation Encores
7:30 p.m. King of the Hill
8 p.m. The Simpsons
8:30 p.m. The War at Home
9 p.m. Family Guy
9:30 p.m. American Dad

In this article: