Official: Fox's fall schedule; 'Fringe' on Thursdays
"Dance" will air a two-hour performance show on Tuesdays and a results show on Wednesdays, just as "American Idol" does during the spring. The Wednesday edition will lead into Ryan Murphy's new musical dramedy "Glee" (which the network is previewing after "Idol" tomorrow evening). "Glee" is the only new drama Fox plans to premiere in the fall, saving the bulk of its pilot pickups for midseason.
"We're going to create a new fall cycle so we don’t have to completelyreconstitute our schedule when 'Idol' comes on," Reilly said of the"Dance" move.
"Dance" was the second-highest-rated show last summer behind Fox's "Hell's Kitchen," which was promoted to an in-season run last year. The fall shakeup will pit "Dance" against NBC's top-rated reality show, "The Biggest Loser," and also against the results show of ABC's dance-reality-leader "Dancing With the Stars" (that's assuming, of course, ABC and NBC keep the shows in their usual time periods when they announce their schedules this week).
"Obviously there’s another dance show on in the fall, but 'So You Think You Can Dance' delivers a younger and harder to reach audience," Reilly said.
When asked if he's concerned viewers might get tired of the show during a back-to-back run, Reilly said the number a weeks between the summer and fall versions will be about the same as the winter hiatus of shows like "Survivor" and "Biggest Loser." Plus, he said producers have planned an unspecified stunt to help bridge the gap between the cycles.
"Most competition shows have two cycles; I don’t see why this show should be different," Reilly said.
The network's highest-rated scripted show "House" will remain on Mondays at 8 p.m., followed by the second season of "Lie to Me." The decision restores a strong lead-in to "Lie," which saw its ratings drop following a shift to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays earlier this year.
Rescued fan favorite "Dollhouse" returns on Fridays, but with a modest lead-in from new comedy "Brothers" and utility player "Til Death" that seems unlikely to reverse its ratings woes. (And, yes, "Terminator" is canceled).
Explaining the pickup of "Dollhouse," Fox executives said the show allows the network to keep scripted programming on Friday nights, which pleases advertisers. Also, Reilly admitted there was concern about the perception of re-launching Friday with an entirely new lineup of scripted programming.
Though the show is receiving a budget cut, Reilly said the network remains committed to producing top-tier shows.
"'Glee, 'Human Target,' 'Fringe' are big shows with big investments -- you’re not seeing shows scaling back," he said.
And as for "Terminator" being canceled, Reilly said, "It was not an inexpensive show. We looked at ratings track where it had a consistent run. That trend line was not pointing in the right direction. We did a huge launch with that show. It was time to move on."
New Seth MacFarlane comedy "The Cleveland Show" will go into 8:30 p.m. Sunday nights. Wanda Sykes' new talk show is planned for 11 p.m. Saturday nights.
But the boldest move may be Fox's new breakout "Fringe" being put to the test in the toughest time period on television.
"Fringe" will move from Tuesdays this season to Thursdays at 9 p.m., going against ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," NBC's "The Office" and CBS' "CSI" (again, assuming the other shows remain in their usual slots).
The decision continues Fox's strategy of trying to seize Thursdays, a movement that started to gain traction earlier this year with "Bones" and "Hell's Kitchen" invading the night and putting pressure on NBC. "Bones" will remain at 8 p.m., which leaves "Fringe" running against heavy competition and without a dominating lead-in like it had with "House" and "Idol" this season.
This move shows Fox's faith in "Fringe" and perhaps that the network senses an opportunity that its sci-fi-procedural drama could lure fans from CBS' more traditional procedural "CSI," which has seen its ratings drop sharply this season following the departure of star William Petersen.
"The door is more open on this night than it has been in a long time," Reilly said. "'Fringe' is a real alternative to both ['Grey's' and 'CSI']."
"The strategic moves we made last year to build off of our biggest assets are paying off," Reilly said. "We’ve created stability and consistently strong performance across the week. Next season, we’re bringing back two top-rated sophomore dramas and using our hits to introduce a broad and compelling slate of new shows that will make our air even more vibrant and alive."
Fox also announced a 2010 midseason lineup, which will almost certainly change. The network plans to re-team "House" and "24" on Mondays; tie "American Idol" and new drama "Past Life" on Tuesdays; the "Idol" results show and action drama "Human Target" on Wednesdays; putting "Sons of Tucson" into 8:30 p.m. Sunday nights while shifting "Cleveland Show" to 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday lineups are unchanged from the fall schedule.
Absent from schedule -- Gordon Ramsay, whose "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares" have been keeping the chef on the schedule nearly year-round. Reilly said both shows will return, with one probably airing next season.
"They are shows that can be used opportunistically," he said. "They tend to self-start and be flexible."
Fox's announced fall/midseason schedule, below.
Here's the lineups announced for fall.
New shows in RED
Returning shows in BLACK
Returning shows in new time periods in BLUE
Slots with two series titles = "Fall Show / Midseason Show"
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