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:Monday 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 (Malcolm in the Middle) describe as Touched by a Crazy Person. The main character is a woman in her 20s, who works in a souvenir shop where inanimate figures have a way of coming to life. "The success of Joe Millionaire and American Idol brought a lot of young female viewers back to Fox," says Berman. "We want to put on new series that keep them here." At 9, the network launches Skin, a drama about two families, one in the porn industry and the other in government trying to shut that industry down. "It won't be set in the [porn] industry," says Berman. "It's a series driven by character." How much those characters are fleshed out remains to be seen. Tuesday The night remains the same with a second edition of American Idol spin-off American Juniors at 8 (the first one debuts next month), leading into 24 at 9. Idol will return in January. Randy and Paula are coming back; the network is still negotiating with Simon. Wednesday Once again, this is a comedy night for Fox, starting with That '70s Show at 8. The new 8:30 comedy A Minute with Stan Hooper follows. Starring Norm MacDonald as a commentator for a highly rated TV newsmagazine, the show follows his relocation to the kind of small town whose virtues he has been extolling in his commentaries. We're to assume hilarity ensues. Bernie Mac and Cedric the Entertainer complete the night at 9 and 9:30, respectively. Thursday The network rolls the dice with two new dramas which Berman says "speak directly to the 18-34-year-old audience." The first, Tru Calling, stars Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as a college grad who works in a morgue and can travel back in time 12 hours to try and prevent what got the stiff in front of her in the first place. At 9, The O.C. focuses on a teen from "the wrong side of the tracks" who finds himself thrust into a posh Southern California community where all is not as tranquil as it seems. With young viewers transfixed on either NBC's Friends or CBS's Survivor, Fox will have trouble getting these shows sampled. To help sell The O.C., the network will give it an early launch this summer. Friday Very little since the launch of The X-Files has worked for Fox on Friday nights. So, the network is trying something different for the fall, moving Wanda at Large over from Wednesday to start the night. It won't be easy for the sitcom, which launched mid-season, to go up against comedies on ABC and WB. Wanda will lead into Luis, a new sitcom featuring character actor Luis Guzman, who plays the owner of a donut shop in Spanish Harlem. Completing the night's urban composition is the move of Boston Public to 9 pm. "We felt Boston Public had always served us well in a tough time period on Monday, and that it could serve us well here, too," says Berman. Saturday Two of the longest-running series on TV, Cops and America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back, return. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," says Berman. SundayOliver Beene moves up to 7 pm to kick-off a full night of comedies. King of the Hill and The Simpsons return to their regular timeslots at 7:30 and 8 pm, respectively. At 8:30, it's the high-concept comedy, The Ortegas. Part scripted, part improv, The Ortegas is a vehicle for comedian Luis Ortega, who in a show within a show hosts a makeshift talk show from a set in his backyard. Malcolm returns at 9, followed by Arrested Development, a sitcom featuring Jason Bateman as the father of a 13-year-old. Bateman's character is pulled back into the family business after his father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, gets busted for shifty accounting practices. Since the competition's countering with newsmagazines, dramas and movies, Fox has a good shot at getting its two new comedies off the ground.
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