Fox fall sked to debut ... in fall


With much shorter postseason baseball coverage this year, Fox is returning to a more traditional rollout of its fall schedule with most series premiering during and just before premiere week.

Since 2003, when "The O.C." made waves with its Aug. 5 debut, Fox had been launching scripted series in August and even July. While an early start worked for "O.C." and "Prison Break" in 2005, it didn't for scores of others, which were hurt by the low-summer viewership levels.

This year, Fox is opting to hold its scripted fare back until after its Sept. 16 broadcast of the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be used extensively to promote the network's new shows.

First out of the gate the following night is the new cop drama "K-Ville." Two days later, Fox will introduce its new Wednesday lineup, anchored at 8 p.m. by the debut of the new comedy "Back to You," starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. The network's Tuesday pairing of newcomer "New Amsterdam" and mega-hit "House" will be unveiled the following week.

The bulk of Fox's unscripted fall series will premiere before the beginning of the season. The breakout Thursday game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" will return with originals Aug. 30, joined by its new companion, the chef Gordon Ramsay-starring "Kitchen Nightmares," two weeks later.

The new Friday docu-soap "Nashville" will debut a day later and will follow original episodes of "5th Grader" until Fox's regular schedule is pre-empted for baseball coverage. After the hiatus, "Nashville" will be joined by "The Search for the Next Great American Band," an "American Idol" spinoff for bands.