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[07/12/05 - 12:00 AM]
FOX's Fall Premieres: How Baseball Will Come Into Play
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce this report to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- With the announcement of FOX's fall premiere dates yesterday (read the story), all eyes once again turn to the network's Major League Baseball postseason coverage. Each year FOX tries to balance the double-edged sword that is its MLB deal - on one hand it provides a significant marketing tool and on the other it disrupts the flow of its fall schedule, forcing several series to go as many as four weeks without an airing.

With that in mind we thought we'd look at the potential pitfalls ahead this season and look back at strategies in previous years. In the end FOX is forced into one of two options: either premiere early and risk going missing for almost a month in October or premiere late and risk being lost in the shuffle of the other networks' launches.

(Note: Outside of the World Series, FOX and the MLB have yet to confirm the dates for its 2005 postseason coverage. Nevertheless, the dates generally remain consistent from year to year.)

MONDAYS - "Prison Break" launches on August 29 with "Arrested Development" and "Kitchen Confidential" on September 19.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 10 (Division Series, Game 4 or 5, if necessary) and October 17 (ALCS or NLCS, Game 5, if necessary)

Comments: The worst-case scenario has both "Arrested" and "Kitchen" getting the boot for two weeks after being on the air for two weeks. The best-case scenario has no pre-emptions at all.

FOX's Monday History: 2004 - "North Shore" (8:00/7:00c) ran from September 6 until September 27 before disappearing until Thursday, November 4 and "Renovate My Family" (9:00/8:00c) likewise ran from September 6 until October 4 before disappearing until Friday, November 5

FOX's Monday History: 2003 - "Joe Millionaire 2" (8:00/7:00c) and "Skin" (9:00/8:00c) both waited until after baseball (October 20) before premiering to disastrous results ("Skin" got the axe after just three weeks)

FOX's Monday History: 2002 - "Boston Public" (8:00/7:00c) and "girls club" (9:00/8:00c) likewise waited until after baseball (October 21) and also premiered to limited results ("girls club" got dumped after just two weeks)

FOX's Monday History: 2001 - "Boston Public" and (the eventual final season of) "Ally McBeal" opened after baseball (October 29) to mixed results

FOX's Monday History: 2000 - the freshman year of "Boston Public" and season four of "Ally McBeal" once again launched after the playoffs (October 23) to strong numbers

TUESDAYS - "Bones" and "House" both kick off their seasons on September 13.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 4 (Division Series, Game 1), October 11 (ALCS, Game 1), October 18 (ALCS, Game 6, if necessary) and October 25 (World Series, Game 3)

Comments: More than likely both shows will miss the entire month of October meaning just three weeks will have passed since their respective premieres.

FOX's Tuesday History: 2004 - Both "The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best" and "House" waited until after the playoffs (November 9 for the former, November 16 for the latter) to premiere

FOX's Tuesday History: 2003 - "24" premiered its third season after baseball (October 28) while various repeats and other stunts aired in the opening hour to fill in for the aborted second season of "American Juniors"

FOX's Tuesday History: 2002 - "24" once again debuted its season after baseball (October 29) while lead-ins "That '70s Show" and "Grounded for Life" actually launched prior to baseball (September 17) and disappeared after two weeks until October 29 in the former's case and December 3 in the latter's

FOX's Tuesday History: 2001 - like 2002, "24's" first season waited until after baseball to premiere (November 6) while "That '70s Show" and "Undeclared" bowed on September 25 (both ran for four weeks before being pre-empted for two and three weeks respectively)

FOX's Tuesday History: 2000 - "That '70s Show," "Titus" and "Dark Angel" all got a jump on baseball (October 3) with each getting pre-empted on non-successive weeks (October 24 and November 7)

WEDNESDAYS - "That '70s Show" and "Stacked" will both launch after baseball (exact dates TBA) while "Head Cases" will go at it alone starting September 14.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 5 (Division Series, Game 1 or 2), October 12 (ALCS, Game 2/NLCS, Game 1), October 19 (ALCS, Game 7, if necessary/NLCS, Game 6, if necessary) and October 26 (World Series, Game 4)

Comments: Like Tuesday nights, there's a good chance FOX's schedule for the night will get the hook for up to four weeks with "Head Cases" getting as little as three weeks to establish an audience.

FOX's Wednesday History: 2004 - "That '70s Show" and "Quintuplets" got the jump on baseball, running from September 8 through October 6 (five weeks) before getting the boot for three weeks until November 3, while "The Bernie Mac Show" ran from September 8-29 (four weeks, then headed to hiatus until January) and "Method & Red" lasted just two (until September 15) in the anchor spot before getting the axe

FOX's Wednesday History: 2003 - This time around FOX waited until October 29 (after baseball) to launch its fall Wednesday lineup of "That '70s Show," "A Minute With Stan Hooper" and "The O.C."

FOX's Wednesday History: 2002 - "The Bernie Mac Show," "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" and "Fastlane" all tried early launches (September 18), running just two weeks before disappearing for four weeks, returning on October 30

FOX's Wednesday History: 2001 - "The Bernie Mac Show" (9:00/8:00c) and "Titus" (9:30/8:30c) both had post-baseball launches (November 14) while strangely "Grounded for Life" (8:30/7:30c) started on September 26, ran for two weeks and disappeared until November 21 with "That '70s Show" (8:00/7:00c) running new episodes on September 26 and November 21 (it aired on Tuesdays regularly that year) with repeats in between

FOX's Wednesday History: 2000 - newcomers "Normal, Ohio" (8:30/7:30c) and "The Street" (9:00/8:00c) both launched after baseball (November 1) with special Wednesday episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" airing in the 8:00/7:00c slot

THURSDAYS - "The O.C." and "Reunion" will each get the jump on baseball as both premiere on September 8.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 6 (Division Series, Game 2), October 13 (NLCS, Game 2), October 20 (NLCS, Game 7, if necessary) and October 27 (World Series, Game 5, if necessary)

Comments: Again much like Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there's a good chance FOX's Thursday lineup will disappear for at least three weeks in October. The news means each will have run four weeks before any potential pre-emptions.

FOX's Thursday History: 2004 - "The O.C." and the second half of "North Shore's" first (and only) season got the post-baseball launch on November 4

FOX's Thursday History: 2003 - "Tru Calling" bowed on October 30 (after baseball) with repeats of "The O.C." (for the most part) at 9:00/8:00c

FOX's Thursday History: 2002 - "30 Seconds to Fame" ran back-to-back episodes (some new, some repeats) at 8:00/7:00c beginning October 31 (again after baseball) with various specials airing at 9:00/8:00c

FOX's Thursday History: 2001 - the second half of "Family Guy's" third season, "The Tick" and "Temptations Island 2" all bowed on November 8 (a preview of "Island" aired on November 7) after baseball

FOX's Thursday History: 2000 - FOX didn't have regular programming on Thursday nights that fall instead opting for movies and specials (anyone remember "Battle of the Child Geniuses 2?")

FRIDAYS - "The Bernie Mac Show," "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Killer Instinct" will all beat out baseball on September 23.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 7 (Division Series, Game 3)

Comments: With just one potential pre-emption, FOX's new Friday trio will only be disrupted once just two weeks after their premieres.

FOX's Friday History: 2004 - "The Complex: Malibu" finished its run by October 8 so it missed any potential baseball pre-emptions while various encores, specials and repeats filled the rest of the night ("Renovate My Family" would move to Fridays on October 29 following baseball with specials, etc. continuing to fill out the rest of the night)

FOX's Friday History: 2003 - "Wanda at Large," "Luis" and "Boston Public" all launched on September 19 and were pre-empted only once (October 10) for baseball

FOX's Friday History: 2002 - likewise, "Firefly" and "John Doe" both launched prior to baseball (September 20) and were pre-empted only once (October 11) for baseball

FOX's Friday History: 2001 - once again, "Dark Angel" and "Pasadena" both bowed before baseball on September 28 and were pre-empted just once for baseball (October 19, with "Pasadena" also pre-empted on October 12 for an "America's Most Wanted" special)

FOX's Friday History: 2000 - "Police Videos" and "Freakylinks" both launched on October 6 with neither being disrupted by baseball coverage

SATURDAYS - "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" as usual will premiere prior to baseball on September 10.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 8 (Division Series, Game 3 or 4, if necessary), October 15 (ALCS, Game 3/NLCS, Game 3), October 22 (World Series, Game 1) and October 29 (World Series, Game 6, if necessary)

Comments: As is typical this time of year, the Saturday mainstays will take a powder for most of October.

FOX's Saturday History 2004-2000: "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" have both aired together for the previous five years (and beyond) on Saturday nights

SUNDAYS - "The Simpsons," "The War at Home," "Family Guy" and "American Dad" will each bow on September 11 with "King of the Hill" (7:30/6:30c) following on September 18.

Potential Pre-emptions: October 9 (Division Series, Game 4 or 5, if necessary), October 16 (ALCS, Game 4/NLCS, Game 4), October 23 (World Series, Game 2) and October 30 (World Series, Game 7, if necessary)

Comments: For the first time since 1999, "The Simpsons" will premiere prior to FOX's baseball coverage. That year it aired for two weeks before being pre-empted for another two weeks.

FOX's Sunday History: 2004 - "King of the Hill" (7:00/6:00c), "Malcolm in the Middle" (7:30/6:30c), "The Simpsons" (8:00/7:00c), "Arrested Development" (8:30/7:30c) and "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" (9:00/8:00c) all premiered after baseball on November 7

FOX's Sunday History: 2003 - "King of the Hill" (7:30/6:30c), "The Simpsons" (8:00/7:00c), "Malcolm in the Middle" (9:00/8:00c) and "Arrested Development" (9:30/8:30c) again all launched after baseball (November 2) with "The Bernie Mac Show" (8:30/7:30c) joining the group on November 30

FOX's Sunday History: 2002 - "The Simpsons" (8:00/7:00c), "King of the Hill" (8:30/7:30c) and "Malcolm in the Middle" (9:00/8:00c) all once more bowed after baseball (November 3) with "Futurama" (7:00/6:00c) joining the group the following week on November 10 (repeats of "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" filled the 7:30/6:30c and 9:30/8:30c holes respectively)

FOX's Sunday History: 2001 - "King of the Hill" (7:30/6:30c), "The Simpsons" (8:00/7:00c), "Malcolm in the Middle" (8:30/7:00c) and "The X-Files" (9:00/8:00c) each launched on November 11 that fall (due to the September 11 attacks delaying baseball through November) while "Futurama" (7:00/6:00c) didn't join the group until December 9.

FOX's Sunday History: 2000 - much like 2001, "Futurama" (7:00/6:00c), "King of the Hill" (7:30/6:30c), "The Simpsons" (8:00/7:00c), "Malcolm in the Middle" (8:30/7:00c) and "The X-Files" (9:00/8:00c) all launched after baseball on November 5





  [july 2005]  
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M
T
W
T
F
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· 24 (FOX)
· 30 SECONDS TO FAME (FOX)
· ALLY MCBEAL (FOX)
· AMERICAN DAD (TBS)
· AMERICAN JUNIORS (FOX)
· AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (LIFETIME)
· ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (NETFLIX)
· BERNIE MAC SHOW, THE (FOX)
· BONES (FOX)
· BOSTON PUBLIC (FOX)
· CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PRESENTS (FOX)
· COMPLEX, THE: MALIBU (FOX)
· COPS (SPIKE TV)
· DARK ANGEL (FOX)
· FAMILY GUY (FOX)
· FASTLANE (FOX)
· FIREFLY (FOX)
· FREAKYLINKS (FOX)
· FUTURAMA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· GIRLS CLUB (FOX)
· GROUNDED FOR LIFE (WB)
· HEAD CASES (FOX)
· HOUSE (FOX)
· JOE MILLIONAIRE (FOX)
· JOHN DOE (FOX)
· KILLER INSTINCT (FOX)
· KING OF THE HILL (FOX)
· KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL (FOX)
· LUIS (FOX)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· METHOD & RED (FOX)
· MINUTE WITH STAN HOOPER, A (FOX)
· MY BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS BOSS (FOX)
· NORMAL, OHIO (FOX)
· NORTH SHORE (FOX)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· PASADENA (FOX)
· PRISON BREAK (FOX)
· QUINTUPLETS (FOX)
· REBEL BILLIONAIRE, THE: BRANSON'S QUEST FOR THE BEST (FOX)
· RENOVATE MY FAMILY (FOX)
· REUNION (FOX)
· SIMPSONS, THE (FOX)
· SKIN (FOX)
· STACKED (FOX)
· STREET, THE (FOX)
· TEMPTATION ISLAND (FOX)
· THAT '70S SHOW (FOX)
· TICK, THE (FOX)
· TITUS (FOX)
· TRU CALLING (FOX)
· UNDECLARED (FOX)
· WANDA AT LARGE (FOX)
· WAR AT HOME, THE (FOX)
· WORLD'S WILDEST POLICE VIDEOS (SPIKE TV)
· X-FILES, THE (FOX)





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