NEW YORK -- Fox
Broadcasting Co. will try to reverse its fall misfortunes with a fleet of new series introduced Thursday.
The network is launching three new reality series in the fourth quarter along with three new scripted series. Four more scripted series will roll out in the midseason, when they should get a lift from the presence of American Idol
, which has nearly single-handedly given Fox the ratings crown in recent years.
Peter Liguori, president of entertainment at Fox, believes that the stability of 17 returning series also will help give Fox the momentum that has eluded it in early fall.
"I think we're better prepared to come out swinging," Liguori said during the upfront to explain how the network will find its stride in the fourth quarter, which he said has been challenged in the past.
Liguori also noted that Fox's fall chances will be helped by less of an interruption from postseason baseball, which takes over primetime for just 14 nights this year, down from 26 in 2006.
"Our break will be considerably shorter, allowing us to build a more consistent schedule," he said during a news conference earlier in the day.
An abridged postseason also will allow Fox to launch programs later if it wants, though no decision has been made as to whether new series will launch in late August or early September.
A trio of new reality series will fill out Fox's Thursday and Friday lineups, including Kitchen Nightmares
and the tentatively titled pair of Nashville
and The Search for the Next Great American Band. Nightmares
will be joined by the return of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Fox will open a new comedy block on Wednesday, moving returning comedy 'Til Death
from Thursday to join new half-hour Back to You
. With such stars Kelsey Grammer
and Patricia Heaton
, Liguori has high hopes for Back. "We're in the hands of seasoned pros both in front of and behind the camera," he said at the news conference.