Fox is sticking to its high-concept roots with the three dramas and four comedies it plans to launch next season. That's particularly notable, considering the network's competition seems to be playing it safe, avoiding the inventive and edgy. Fox carries only 15 hours of programming each week, nearly a third of which will be filled with new shows this fall that's what you call a major overhaul. Here's a night-by-night look at the schedule:
Major changes here. The night kicks off at 8 with the return of Joe Millionaire
in the spot occupied for the last four seasons by Boston Public
, which will move to Friday. Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman
isn't giving any details on Joe 2
, other than to allow that manservant Paul Hogan
will be back. After Joe
's limited run, it will be replaced by Wonderfalls
, a drama its creators Bryan Fuller
(Star Trek: Voyager
) and Todd Holland
For a network that preaches stability, CBS is giving its schedule an eye-popping shake-up, adding seven new shows and moving established hits The King of Queens and JAG to new nights. Not surprisingly, CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves downplays the risk of audience confusion the moves may cause. "Viewers have a hard time keeping up no matter what you do there's already a lot of confusion," he says. "But when some of the shows you move are already appointment viewing, their fans will move with them."
Still, the network will have to maneuver a tough road next fall, especially given that five of its new shows are dramas, two of which will face off against some of the most popular shows on primetime. Look for CBS to have more success with its two new comedies, Two and a Half Men and The Stones, both of which will follow
ABC sees comedy as its key to the future. The Disney-owned network's fall prime-time schedule will include four new comedies, as well as renewals for all four comedies launched in the 2002-2003 season. When you add in My Wife and Kids and According to Jim, ABC will have a total of 10 sitcoms come autumn, more than any other network.
In hopes of cementing its reputation as the comedy network, ABC plans to reclaim Friday as the night for family-friendly sitcoms. This new era of TGIF sitcoms will skew a bit older than the back-in-the-day slate that included Full House and Family Matters. "It makes sense for ABC to go heavy into comedy, especially TGIF," says Steve Sternberg, senior V.P./director of audience analysis at MAGNA Global USA, a major media buying firm. "But