"We're sticking to our game with this schedule," Fox President-Entertainment Peter Liguori said, noting that the network tried to keep the new schedule consistent with this year's schedule. Unlike most other broadcasters, Fox only airs two hours of prime-time entertainment programming each night.
Dogfight on Thursday
On Thursdays, Fox will premiere its two new comedies, "'Til Death" and "Happy Hour," at 8 p.m., followed by "The O.C." at 9 p.m., the most competitive slot of the week. "The O.C." will face off against CBS' "CSI", ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and NBC's new show, the Aaron Sorkin drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
Mr. Liguori said Fox executives had a "very brief discussion" about possible moving "The O.C." off the Thursday night 9 p.m. spot after the other networks announced their own ambitious Thursday night schedules but concluded that the "O.C." audience is different from the "Grey's Anatomy" audience and different from the "C.S.I." audience.
"Prison Break" will continue to lead off Monday night with only original episodes, followed by the new drama "Vanished." Tuesday nights will debut another new drama, "Standoff," which will lead in to the Hugh Laurie hit "House." Come midseason, Fox will substitute "24" for "Prison Break" and move "Standoff" to Monday, to allow the "American Idol" performance show to fill that slot. New "Prison Break" episodes will return Mondays later in the season after the midseason break. (See full fall schedule here.)
"Monday night will be this branded, nonstop, high-octane franchise for us all year long," Mr. Liguori said.
"Bones" will start off on Wednesdays, followed by the new Jerry Bruckheimer drama "Justice" until midseason, when the "American Idol" results show returns, followed by new comedy "The Loop."
Friday and Saturday all feature returning shows, including "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spouses," and stalwarts "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" until midseason, when "Bones" will move to Friday at 8, followed by new drama "The Wedding Album." Sunday night's animated comedy lineup remains the same.
The new late-night talk show that was buzzed-about at the network development meetings, hosted by Spike Feresten, will air Saturdays at midnight after MadTV.
Canceled shows include: "Bernie Mac," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Arrested Development," "Free Ride," "That 70s Show" and "Stacked."
Addressing the upfront period
Jon Nesvig, president-sales, addressed the news that some marketers may make their major TV ad buys outside the upfront. "[The upfront] happens when people get ready to buy and sometimes that's an extended period and sometimes a very short period," he said. "Johnson & Johnson has been the one that's gone public saying would prefer to do it in August. ... They've asked us as they happen to be kept abreast."
Fox also touted its online assets. "In April we reached 50% of all 18- to 34-year-olds [online]," said Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media. "What we're doing is two fold. First, supporting everything Peter and John are trying to accomplish in broadcast and also reaching a massive demo [to sell against]."