[09/30/03 - 12:00 AM]
FOX Shifts 'O.C.' to Wednesdays as Part of Major Fall Overhaul
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX has once again changed its fall schedule, this time making changes to three nights on its lineup: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The news was announced via press release yesterday. Here's a breakdown of all the moves:

After weeks of speculation, FOX has decided not to move its summer success story "The O.C." to Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c where it would have faced off against juggernauts "C.S.I." on CBS and "Will & Grace" on NBC. The series will instead move to Wednesdays at 9:00/8:00c beginning October 29.

To make room on the night, the network will hold back the final six episodes of "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" until midseason and shift its returning comedy "The Bernie Mac Show" to Sundays at 8:30/7:30c. And on Sundays, FOX has decided to bench the previously announced 8:30/7:30c time slot holder "The Ortegas" until midseason in favor of "Bernie Mac." Finally, FOX will fill the Thursday, 9:00/8:00c hour with same-week repeats of its new Monday drama "Skin," a strategy that worked well for "The O.C."

FOX executives stressed the moves were designed to capitalize on the success of "The O.C." and increase its chances at maintaining its strong summer numbers in the fall. As for the delays of "Cedric" and "Ortegas," the former was simply a disposable holdover from last season's production run while the latter's future is a little more fuzzy. FOX has decided to halt production on "Ortegas" after six episodes but is looking to extend its options on the creative talent involved with the series. The network had previously committed to 13 episodes but the rollback means the cast and crew will likely be free agents long before "Ortegas" makes it to air.

Meanwhile, FOX plans quite a bit of fanfare for "The O.C.'s" re-launch on Wednesday nights:

During the show's October hiatus, fox.com/oc will launch extensive new features found only on the show's official website. Every Thursday (Oct. 2, 9, 16 & 23) at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT, various cast members from THE O.C. will participate in an online chat. Fox.com/oc will also give online visitors the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes and see exclusive clips in conjunction with "character" and "soundtrack" commentaries provided by THE O.C.'s creators. Prior to THE O.C.'s return to primetime, fox.com/oc will premiere video footage from the premiere episode "The Rescue," which airs Wednesday, Oct. 29 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the site will also launch bonus features including an exclusive dvd-style producers' commentary of scenes in "The Rescue." The site will also feature character downloads including new wallpapers and screensavers.

In addition, FOX plans to encore the first six episodes of the series next week starting Tuesday, October 14. Back-to-back episodes beginning at 8:00/7:00c are scheduled to run from October 14-16, contingent upon League Championship play for this year's MLB playoffs.

In review, here's the complete list of changes to FOX's fall schedule:

Wednesdays beginning October 29
8:00/7:00c - "That '70s Show"
8:30/7:30c - "A Minute With Stan Hooper"
9:00/8:00c - "The O.C."

Thursdays beginning October 30
8:00/7:00c - "Tru Calling"
9:00/8:00c - "Skin" (encore presentations)

Sundays beginning November 9
(note that with the exception of "Bernie," all of FOX's Sunday comedies premiere November 2)
7:30/6:30c - "King of the Hill"
8:00/7:00c - "The Simpsons"
8:30/7:30c - "The Bernie Mac Show"
9:00/8:00c - "Malcolm in the Middle"
9:30/8:30c - "Arrested Development"

Lastly, while nothing is official yet, insiders are saying FOX is close to yanking its entire Friday lineup - "Wanda at Large," "Luis" and "Boston Public" - in favor of movies for November sweeps.

  [september 2003]  


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