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[01/17/07 - 01:01 AM]
FOX Books Midseason Trio, 'Kitchen' Return for Spring
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX is on track for a few surprises when it announces its spring schedule during its session at the TCA this weekend.

Several sources have confirmed the network plans to roll out three new series in the coming months - "Drive," "The Winner" and "The Wedding Bells" (a.k.a. "The Wedding Planners") - as well as new time periods for "'Til Death" and "Standoff" not to mention an early return date for "Hell's Kitchen."

Here's a breakdown of said plans:

-- The Tim Minear/Ben Queen-created drama "Drive" will kick off with a special two-hour premiere on Sunday, April 15 at 8:00/7:00c. The series will then settle into its regular Monday, 8:00/7:00c slot the following night as a lead-in to "24." To make room for the newcomer, current Monday, 8:00/7:00c occupant "Prison Break" will wrap its sophomore run on Monday, April 2 at 8:00/7:00c while a special Monday repeat of "House" will fill the hour on April 9.

-- "'Til Death" will make the move to Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c starting March 14. As part of the move the series will follow two previously announced 90-minute editions of "American Idol" on Tuesday, February 27 and Wednesday, February 28. (A two-hour "American Idol" fills the night on Wednesday, March 7.)

-- The third season of "Hell's Kitchen" is on tap for Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c in March where it will take over for the departing "The O.C." Still to be determined is the 8:00/7:00c hour, however new episodes of "The War at Home" and "The Loop" as well as newcomer "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" are said to be options.

-- Fridays will see the return of "Standoff" at 8:00/7:00c in March followed by David E. Kelley's aforementioned "The Wedding Bells." ("The 38th Annual NAACP Awards" airs on March 2, meaning the earliest the two could bow is March 9.) Presumably the network's current Friday occupants "Nanny 911" and "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy" will head to hiatus.

-- And finally, the Ricky Blitt/Seth MacFarlane-produced "The Winner" will launch on Sunday, March 4 with episodes at 8:30/7:30c and 9:30/8:30c that night. The show's remaining four episodes then will continue to run in the 9:30/8:30c half-hour in place of "American Dad," which returns in late April.

-- Remaining in their current slots: "24, "American Idol," "House," "Bones," "Cops," "America's Most Wanted," "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill" and "Family Guy."

To review, here's a night-by-night guide to the upcoming schedule changes:

Sunday, March 4
8:00/7:00c - "The Simpsons"
8:30/7:30c - "The Winner" (Series Premiere, Special Time)
9:00/8:00c - "Family Guy"
9:30/8:30c - "The Winner" (New Series)

Sundays (as of March 11)
8:00/7:00c - "The Simpsons"
8:30/7:30c - "King of the Hill"
9:00/8:00c - "Family Guy"
9:30/8:30c - "The Winner" (New Series)

Sunday, April 15
8:00/7:00c - "Drive" (Two-Hour Series Premiere)

Mondays (through April 2)
8:00/7:00c - "Prison Break"
9:00/8:00c - "24"

Monday, April 9
8:00/7:00c - "House" (Repeat)
9:00/8:00c - "24"

Mondays (as of April 16)
8:00/7:00c - "Drive" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "24"

Tuesday, February 27
8:00/7:00c - "American Idol" (New 90-Minute Episode)
9:30/8:30c - "'Til Death" (Special Night & Time)

Wednesday, February 28
8:00/7:00c - "American Idol" (New 90-Minute Episode)
9:30/8:30c - "'Til Death" (Special Night & Time)

Wednesday, March 7
8:00/7:00c - "American Idol" (New Two-Hour Episode)

Wednesdays (as of March 14)
8:00/7:00c - "Bones"
9:00/8:00c - "American Idol" (30-Minute Results Shows)
9:30/8:30c - "'Til Death" (New Time Slot)

Thursdays (as of March - exact date TBA)
8:00/7:00c - (To Be Announced)
9:00/8:00c - "Hell's Kitchen"

Fridays (as of March - exact date TBA)
8:00/7:00c - "Standoff" (New Time Slot)
9:00/8:00c - "The Wedding Bells" (New Series)





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· 24 (FOX)
· AMERICAN DAD (TBS)
· AMERICAN IDOL (FOX)
· AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (LIFETIME)
· ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER? (FOX)
· BONES (FOX)
· COPS (SPIKE TV)
· DRIVE (FOX)
· FAMILY GUY (FOX)
· HELL'S KITCHEN (FOX)
· HOUSE (FOX)
· KING OF THE HILL (FOX)
· LOOP, THE (FOX)
· NANNY 911 (CMT)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· PRISON BREAK (FOX)
· SIMPSONS, THE (FOX)
· STANDOFF (FOX)
· 'TIL DEATH (FOX)
· TRADING SPOUSES: MEET YOUR NEW MOMMY (FOX)
· WAR AT HOME, THE (FOX)
· WEDDING BELLS, THE (FOX)
· WINNER, THE (FOX)









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