Upfront 07

Fox Adds Six New Shows For Next Season

Comedy 'Back to You' Stars Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Despite all the early talk of beefing up its fall slate for a stronger all-around season, Fox is still banking on the "January effect" from "American Idol" to roll out it biggest, most surefire hits.
Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton star in Fox's new comedy 'Back to You.'
Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton star in Fox's new comedy 'Back to You.' Credit: Fox

In a conference call this afternoon, entertainment president Peter Liguori announced the addition of six new shows to the fall schedule, including three unscripted series, two dramas and one big-ticket sitcom.

January, however, brings the premiere of the network's most-anticipated series -- including the "Terminator" spin-off "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," the Parker Posey comedic drama "The Return of Jezebel James" from "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Julianna Marguilles' return to network TV with "Canterbury's Law."

Liguori's high hopes
With fewer baseball pre-emptions and no Super Bowl until January, Fox hopes to be in a better position to hold on to the larger audience that comes in midseason for "American Idol" through the fall. Looking at his fall schedule, Mr. Liguori had high hopes for "Back to You," starring comedy vets Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as local Pittsburgh TV news reporters with an "Anchorman"-esque comedic rivalry. The show will precede Ms. Heaton's former "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star Brad Garrett's "Til Death," which returns for its second season Wednesdays at 8:30.

Other scripted series for the fall include detective drama "New Amsterdam" from director Lasse Hallstrom, and "K-ville," the first show to be set in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm fascinated by what's going on in New Orleans; it's a little bit of a wild west down there," Mr. Liguori. "Once [we] went down there and saw the police force that stayed behind, we saw that the NOPD was really committed to having a rebirth of that city. The city itself has many stories to tell. Beyond that it is basically a cop show about two unlikely cops coming together."

Musical shows
Also on the fall slate are Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" spin-off "Kitchen Nightmares" and a pair of musical reality shows, "The Search for the Great American Band" and country-focused "Nashville," both of which will air on Friday nights.

Though top-rated "House" will return in the fall, Fox will once again premiere "24" and "American Idol" mid-season. Mr. Liguori said the female audience "Idol" attracts in the spring will be crucial in launching "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," and admitted that he had to be careful in where he placed his biggest shows.

"Just looking at the schedule overall, we don't have a lot of meat. We're a two-hour network with 17 returning shows," he said. "The ['Sarah Connor Chronicles'] decision was based on circulation. ... We really come into our own not only with football playoffs, but 'Idol' gives us a whole new female audience which we think this show will appeal to as well. Preston [Beckman] has done a really good job in managing the network, so we'll get 13 episodes in a row on 'Sarah Chronicles.'"

FOX PRIME TIME SCHEDULE: FALL 2007
MONDAY
8:00 p.m. "Prison Break"
9:00 p.m. "K-ville"

TUESDAY
8:00 p.m. "New Amsterdam"
9:00 p.m. "House"

WEDNESDAY
8:00 p.m. "Back to You"
8:30 p.m. "'Til Death"
9:00 p.m. "Bones"

THURSDAY
8:00 p.m. "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
9:00 p.m. "Kitchen Nightmares"

FRIDAY 8:00 p.m. "The Search for the Next Great American Band" (working title)
9:00 p.m. "Nashville" (working title)

SATURDAY 8:00 p.m. "Cops"
8:30 p.m. "Cops"
9:00 p.m. "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back"
11:00 p.m. "MADtv"
MIDNIGHT-12:30 AM "Talk Show With Spike Feresten"

SUNDAY 7:00 p.m. "The OT" (NFL post-game)
8:00 p.m. "The Simpsons"
8:30 p.m. "King of the Hill"
9:00 p.m. "Family Guy"
9:30 p.m. "American Dad"

FOX PRIME-TIME SCHEDULE: BEGINNING JANUARY 2008
MONDAY
8:00 p.m. "K-ville" (January)/"Prison Break" (Spring)
9:00 p.m. "24"

TUESDAY
8:00 p.m. "American Idol"
9:00 p.m. "House"

WEDNESDAY (January)
8:00 p.m. "Back to You"
8:30 p.m. "'Til Death"
9:00 p.m. "American Idol"

WEDNESDAY (Spring)
8:00 p.m. "Back to You"
8:30 p.m. "The Return of Jezebal James" (working title)
9:00 p.m. "American Idol" (Results show)
9:30 p.m. "'Til Death"

THURSDAY
8:00 p.m. "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
9:00 p.m. "Canterbury's Law"

FRIDAY (Spring)
8:00 p.m. "Bones"
9:00 p.m. "New Amsterdam"

SATURDAY
8:00 p.m. "Cops"
8:30 p.m. "Cops"
9:00 p.m. "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back"
11:00 p.m. "MADtv"
MIDNIGHT-12:30 AM "Talk Show With Spike Feresten"

SUNDAY (Spring)
7:00 p.m. "King of the Hill"
7:30 p.m. "American Dad" 8:00 p.m. "The Simpsons"
8:30 p.m. "Family Guy"
9:00 p.m. "Sarah Connor Chronicles"
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