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Thread: Sputtering Fox Shifts Into 'Idol'

  1. #1
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Sputtering Fox Shifts Into 'Idol'

    Sputtering Fox Shifts Into 'Idol'

    2 hours, 49 minutes ago

    By Josef Adalian

    HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - With the November sweep essentially behind them, the Big Four networks Tuesday revealed a number of key winter scheduling shifts -- including the much-anticipated news of how Fox plans to launch the second season of its monster hit "American Idol."

    "Idol's" one-hour audition/performance show will air Tuesdays at 8 starting Jan. 21, while the half-hour results episodes will be seen Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.

    Fox will air 90-minute editions of "Idol" on Jan. 21, 22 and 29, with the show settling into its regular air pattern on Feb. 4 and 5.

    To make room for "Idol," Fox is moving "That '70s Show" to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and shifting comedies "Bernie Mac (news)" and "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" an hour later to the post-"Idol" 9-10 p.m. Wednesday slot.

    Rookie drama "Fastlane" will then move to Fridays at 8 p.m., with another first-year hour -- "Firefly" -- taking some time off.

    Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman said the moves would give Fox "our strongest 8-9 p.m. on Wednesday in years" while creating "a solid foundation for 'Bernie Mac' and 'Cedric."'

    At the same time, moving "Fastlane" to Fridays will "liberate" the show from one of TV's toughest time slots and "give it a chance to find the audience it deserves," Berman said.


    ON THE DOCKET


    While Fox announced the most detailed changes, the other networks also firmed up some midseason plans Tuesday. Among the announced changes:


    = CBS will give "Survivor" a few weeks off to make room for its new incarnation of "Star Search." The latter series will bow Jan. 9 at 8 p.m., with "Survivor" reclaiming the slot in February.

    CBS president Leslie Moonves hinted "Search" could eventually be double-pumped, with episodes airing on Thursdays and Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

    = Confirming industry speculation, NBC announced new drama "Mister Sterling" will replace "Providence" Fridays at 8 p.m., starting Jan. 10. But in an odd bit of second-guessing, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said he's told the cast of "Providence" that he might yet order another season of the drama.

    "I'm not sure I made the right decision (by canceling 'Providence')," Zucker told reporters during a conference call. "I may have made a mistake."

    Indeed, Zucker said NBC has already started calling next month's expected "Providence" swan song a "finale" rather than a "series finale" -- though it's unlikely most viewers know the difference between the two phrases.

    NBC said it will premiere midseason comedy "AUSA" in February, with Zucker hinting at some "special" scheduling stunt designed to boost the half-hour's chances during the competitive sweeps month. Hourlong limited-run series "Kingpin" and the second season of "Watching Ellie" are set for March bows.

    = ABC will roll out its "Dragnet" update and new drama "Miracles" on Monday, Jan. 27 -- the day after its broadcast of the Super Bowl. As previously announced, "Dragnet" will air at 9 p.m., with "Miracles" following at 10 p.m.

    It's likely ABC will air family drama "Veritas" Mondays at 8 p.m., though no final decisions have been made. ABC also confirmed plans to roll out "The Bachelorette" on Jan. 8, with reality programming and the third edition of "The Bachelor" filling the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. slots through spring.

    Between now and the summer, ABC hopes to premiere up to 12 new series, including as many as a half-dozen reality concepts.

    "We want to be thoughtfully aggressive about turning this ship around as fast as we can," ABC Entertainment Television Group chairman Lloyd Braun said.

    Nonetheless, the network has no plans to shift "Alias" from Sundays at 9 p.m. to the post-"Bachelor" Wednesday slot -- a move many industry observers believe would be an easy, logical way of giving the critically acclaimed hour a better shot at finding its audience.

    As for the "Idol" scheduling, industry observers noted Fox's plans seem particularly well-suited for weakening ABC's budding Tuesday comedy block and the WB's still-growing "Gilmore Girls." Fox executives dismissed such talk.

    "These moves are not being made to hurt ABC (or other nets)," Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow said. "These moves have been made to help Fox."

    While Fox is moving "Bernie Mac" away from ABC's "My Wife and Kids," Berman stood by the network's original decision to schedule "Bernie" opposite another half-hour led by a black actor.

    "We always felt there was room for both shows," she said.

    Fox is expected to bow midseason drama "Keene Eddie" and new comedy "Oliver Beene" in March, though no official decisions have been made. Also awaiting a premiere date: half-hour laffer "The Pitts."

  2. #2
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I've never seen Star Search and I really don't have any inclination to.
    I loved the last AI, apart from the voting which was ridiculous.
    I wish they could come up with a way of making the voting more scientific or at least a way to curb all the teenies who sit voting over and over again for whoever it is they happen to fancy.

    I wonder if they'll allow on-line voting this time.

    I really like 8 Simple Rules on Tuesday nights so that will be a slight coinflict for me, nothing the VCR can't sort out though.
    "That's Numberwang!"

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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    I really hope that they limit votes to one per phone number this time. Although they probably won't, because Fox took great delight in being able to claim "8 million people voted this week", when it was really only 200,000 with busy phone fingers.

  4. #4
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    That's the problem John, they used the numner of votes as a measure of how successful the show was.
    I paid a few visits to the offical sites boards and regularly saw posts from people claiming to have voted literally hundreds of times for the same person.
    This type of abuse of the system clearly led to a few distorted results.
    Bless Nikki's heart, she turned out to be a sweetheart, but you could tell that there were a couple of times when she was embarassed to have made it through to the next stage (e.g. when RJ and Tamyra were eliminated).
    "That's Numberwang!"

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    JR.
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    That's why anything where the fans get to vote will be tainted.

    I've only watched Star Search once because my friend's band was on. They lost (got robbed) so I never watched again.

  6. #6
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    I really would have preferred the judges to make the decision.
    I don't have a lot of faith in Paula Abdul, but I think Simon is a force to be reckoned with and would talk the others into a good choice.

    My favourite from last year was Tamyra.
    She had one below par performance, which was still better than both Nikki and Justin imo, and she was gone.
    "That's Numberwang!"

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