Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fox's Fall 2006 (and Winter 2007)

The first of Thursday's two sets of upfront announcements comes from Fox which has what can probably best be described as a schizophrenic schedule.

Cancelled: Arrested Development; Free Ride; Head Cases; Killer Instinct; Kitchen Confidential; Malcolm In The Middle; Reunion; Stacked; That '70s Show.

Retained: 24; American Dad; American Idol; America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back; Bones; Cops; Family Guy; House; King of the Hill; The Loop; MADtv; Nanny 911; The O.C.; Prison Break; The Simpsons; Trading Spouses: Meet your new Mommy; The War at Home.

Moved: (see the schedule; it's rather confusing.)

New: Vanished; Standoff; Justice; 'Til Death; Happy Hour; Talk Show with Spike Feresten; Duets; The Wedding Album; The Winner; On the Lot.

In addition a new comedy, The Winner is set as a midseason replacement and a new reality series, On the Lot is set for an as yet unscheduled spring debut.

Complete Schedule: (New shows in Capitals.)
8:00-9:00 p.m. Prison Break
8:00-9:00 p.m. STANDOFF (starting in January) (New Day & Time)
9:00-10:00 p.m. VANISHED
9:00-10:00 p.m. 24 (starting in January)

8:00-9:00 p.m. STANDOFF
8:00-9:00 p.m. American Idol Performance Show (starting in January)
9:00-10:00 p.m. House

8:00-9:00 p.m. Bones
8:00-9:00 p.m. JUSTICE
9:00-10:00 p.m. JUSTICE (starting in January) (New Time)
9:00-9:30 p.m. American Idol Results Show (starting in January)
9:30-10:00 p.m. The Loop (starting in January)

8:00-8:30 p.m. 'TIL DEATH
8:30-9:00 p.m. HAPPY HOUR
9:00-10:00 p.m. The O.C.

8:00-9:00 p.m. Nanny 911
8:00-9:00 p.m. Bones (starting in January) (New Day & Time)
9:00-10:00 p.m. Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy
9:00-10:00 p.m. THE WEDDING ALBUM (starting in January)

8:00-8:30 p.m. Cops
8:30-9:00 p.m. Cops
9:00-10:00 p.m. America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back
11:00 p.m.-Midnight MADtv

7:00-7:30 p.m. Football Overrun (Comedy Encores)
7:00-7:30 p.m. Comedy Repeats (starting in January)
7:30-8:00 p.m. Football Overrun (Comedy Encores)
7:30-8:00 p.m. King Of The Hill (starting in January)
8:00-8:30 p.m. The Simpsons
8:30-9:00 p.m. American Dad
9:00-9:30 p.m. Family Guy
9:30-10:00 p.m. The War At Home

Vanished Takes viewers inside what is described as "the national soap" opera that surrounds the disappearance of the beautiful wife of a Georgia senator who may not be exactly who she says she is. Stars John Allen Nelson, Gale Harold, Rebecca Gayheart, and Ming Na Wen.

In Standoff two top negotiators from the FBI's Crisis Negotiation Unit are total opposites in how they do their job...which may be what attracted them to each other to the point where they're sleeping together. The should be split up on the job but they're too effective as a teams. Stars Ron Livingston, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Gina Torres.

Justice is a new series from Jerry Bruckheimer that looks behind the scenes at high profile criminal cases in the media age. The four lawyers of the firm of Turk Nicholson Tuller & Gaines each bring a different personality and set of skills to high profile cases. Stars Victor Garber, Kerr Smith, Eamonn Walker and Rebecca Mader.

'Til Death is Brad Garrett's new sitcom. He plays Eddie, a high school history teacher who has been married to his wife Joy (Joely Fisher) for 8,743 days. Their new neighbours, Jeff and Steph (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Foster) have been married for 12 days. Eddie isn't shy about sharing his views on marriage with Jeff at work where Jeff is the new Vice Principal at the school

In Happy Hour a young guy with a seemingly perfect small town life is "persuaded" by his perfect girlfriend to move to Chicago to work for her uncle. When they break up he not only loses his girlfriend but also his job and his apartment. He finds a new roommate - a lovable rogue who is determined to teach his new roomie the joys of living the good life by staying unattached. Stars John Sloan and Lex Medlin.

In The Wedding Album Bruno Campos plays "the second most important man" in any wedding - the photographer. Working wedding combined with his own family's less than stellar relationship history has made him a serial bachelor, until he meets his new assistant and her friends. Also keeping him from getting too far off track is his straight laced half brother who happens to be a minister. Also stars Tara Summers, Tony Lo Bianco as Danny, Ashlie Atkinson and Ptolemy Slocum.

The best description of Talk Show with Spike Feresten is probably Fox's own: "TALK SHOW gives the staid late-night format a long-overdue update. Among other things, this refreshing approach to the genre uses guests in unpredictable ways, like delivering the monologue and performing in the comedy sketches."

Duets is sort of Dancing With The Stars using singers. A professional singer and a non-singing celebrity perform duets together with prize money going to charity. Created by Simon Cowell.

Fox is very frustrating to try to write about thanks to their determination to institutionally split the season in half. Series either debut or switch times in January on five of seven nights. As for the shows, there are some interesting ones. Duets isn't one of them, just another take on the "celebrity doing something they aren't known for" concept pioneered by Dancing With The Stars. Vanished seems like it has potential to be at least as interesting as Prison Break or 24, if it doesn't turn into another Reunion. Justice is another intriguing idea, reminiscent in style if not concept to Murder One or LA Law. I'm not sure I think much of The Wedding Album; it seems to to have much substance and would probably work better as a half hour sitcom than a one hour drama. Of the real sitcoms, The Happy Hour seems eminently forgettable, something along the lines of a tamed Men Behaving Badly. On the other hand 'Til Death might be okay, then again that could be my affinity for Brad Garrett as a comedic presence coming to the for (I always felt that his Robert was the best thing about Everybody Loves Raymond) and at least I can believe Garrett being married to Joely Fisher which is more than you can say about a lot of shows on TV. Finally Talk Show with Spike Feresten sounds like a hip and experimental way for Fox to compete with the last half hour of Saturday Night Live. It may actually work and if it doesn't, who'll notice?

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