News Corp.'s Fox said it would double down on a strategy that has helped the network maintain its status as the most popular among the advertiser-coveted demographic of people between the ages of 18 and 49. Where it once used "American Idol" in the spring as the two-day-a-week spine of its prime-time schedule, it will do the same with new music contest "X Factor" in the fall.
Often sluggish in the early months of the TV season, thanks to airing post-season Major League Baseball games that crimp the launch of new fall programs, Fox said it would instead emerge blasting this September. The network will launch "X Factor" with a 90-minute performance show on Wednesday, followed by an hour-long "results" program on Thursday. In addition, Fox will launch "Terra Nova," a special-effects laden time-travel-and-dinosaur spectacular with Steven Spielberg involved as producer, on Mondays at 8 p.m.
Fox executives hope to use "X Factor" and "American Idol" to build audiences for other new programs. The goal, said Kevin Reilly, president-entertainment, for Fox Broadcasting Co., is "to be number one or number two every night of the week."
Fox's internal hopes are high for the 2011-2012 TV season, where executives are looking to find more gold in the same well. "American Idol," now aging, has helped the network lead the way in reaching the audiences advertisers say they covet, people between the ages of 18 and 49. If "X Factor," which boasts former "American Idol" hosts Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, were to be a hit, it would certainly send Fox to new heights. If the show misses, Fox will remain overly dependent on its spring programming, as well as a host of programs such as "House," "Bones" and "Family Guy" that are reliable, but aging.
Mondays will feature "Terra Nova" at 8 p.m., followed by "House" at 9 p.m. After January, "House" will move to 8 p.m., followed by "Alcatraz," a prison drama with a hint of the supernatural from producer J.J. Abrams.
"Glee" will anchor Tuesdays at 8 p.m., followed by two comedies. Returning sitcom "Raising Hope" will air at 9:30 p.m., preceded by a new offering, "New Girl," a sitcom featuring Zooey Deschannel as a newly single woman who moves in with three single guys. Kevin Reilly, president-entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Co., said he belived the program would attract both men and women to the schedule. In the spring, Fox will replace "Glee" for six weeks and build a Tuesday-night comedy block of four sitcoms.
"X Factor" kicks off Wednedays in the fall, followed by a new sitcom, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter." The sitcom centers on actress Jamie Pressly playing one of two single mothers raising overprivileged teenage daughters. "American Idol" will replace "X Factor" in January.
Thursdays will consist of an "X Factor" results show followed by "Bones." Fox said "American Idol" would replace "X Factor" on the schedule starting in January, with a new drama, "The Finder" replacing "Bones" for several weeks in the spring. "The Finder" centers on an Iraq war veteran who works to overcome injuries by recovering things other people have lost.
Fridays will feature "Kitchen Nightmares" at 8 p.m. and "Fringe" at 9 p.m.
In a move that may surprise some viewers, Fox said it was making efforts to take the venerable criminal-hunting program, "America's Most Wanted" off the schedule. Fox will air four two-hour specials based on the program, which has been on Fox since 1988. Originally used as a cheap alternative to running original series on a night that fewer people were tuning in, "AMW" has gotten more expensive over time, said Mr. Reilly, and Fox wanted some time on its schedule to air "encores" of some of its other programs for business reasons.
"We have not made money on this show in quite a while. It was economically getting to the place where it was not particularly viable," said Mr. Reilly. That said, he said he expected the program to turn up somewhere else within the media empire of Fox's parent, News Corp. He declined to comment on whether the show could turn up on News Corp.'s MyNetwork.
Sundays continue to feature Fox's animated programs. "The Cleveland Show" airs at 7:30 p.m., "The Simpsons" airs at 8 p.m., new show "Allen Gregory" airs at 8:30 p.m., "Family Guy"runs at 9 p.m. and "American Dad" airs at 9:30 p.m. "Allen Gregory" tells the story of a pretentious 7-year-old boy. In the spring, Fox will substitute "Napoleon Dynamite," a new show based on the cult hit about an awkward teenager, for "Allen Gregory" and replace "American Dad" with "Bob's Burgers."
Among the programs Fox has cancelled are "Chicago Code," "Lone Star," "Human Target ," "Lie to Me," "Breaking In," "Traffic Light" and "Running Wilde."