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[04/10/03 - 12:00 AM]
FOX Renews 'Malcolm,' Finalizes Sweeps Plans
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX has renewed its Emmy award winning series "Malcolm in the Middle" for a fifth season.

"'Malcolm in the Middle' is the benchmark by which all family comedies are judged," FOX Entertainment president Gail Berman told reporters. "The series continues to grow creatively, just as Lois and Hal's family is growing with a baby on the way. We look forward to seeing what [creator and executive producer] Linwood [Boomer] and company have in store for them, and us, next season."

To date this season, "Malcolm" is the number one series in its time slot in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic. In addition, the series continues to win its time period among adults 18-34, men 18-49, men 18-34, men 25-54, women 18-34 and teens. More importantly, the comedy has posted gains in its time period comparable to last year in adults 18-49 (+9%) and adults 18-34 (+26%).

FOX also finalized its May sweeps plans yesterday, announcing firm dates for its season finales, movies and specials set to air during the period (April 24 - May 21):

Sundays: "Oliver Beene" and "The Pitts" will wrap their freshman seasons on May 11 with the episodes "Girly Dad" and "Ticket to Riot" respectively. Back-to-back original episodes will mark the season finales to "King of the Hill," "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" on May 18. "Futurama," as previously announced, will not air during the period however has fresh installments set for June.

Mondays: "Boston Public" and the new reality series "Mr. Personality" will both air throughout the period with "Public" closing its third season on May 12 and "Personality's" two-hour finale on May 19.

Tuesdays: "24" and "American Idol" will run uninterrupted for all of sweeps with part one of "Idol's" finale and the "guaranteed-to-shock" close to season two of "24" on May 20.

Wednesdays: As no doubt expected a heavy dose of "American Idol" is set for May sweeps with expanded one-hour results shows on April 30 (8-9 p.m.) and May 14 (8:30-9:30 p.m.) leading up to the two-hour season finale on May 21. "Wanda at Large" wraps its inaugural season on April 30 while "That '70s Show" and "The Bernie Mac Show" finish up their season runs on May 14 (the latter at a special time, 9:30/8:30c). "Cedric the Entertainer Presents," which had been set to return briefly during the period, will instead hold off until June with new episodes.

Thursdays: FOX has a new two-hour Michael Jackson special set for April 24 entitled "Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies." The singer narrates a never-before-seen personal archive of footage from his career. "The Pulse" and other to-be-announced specials will fill the night for the remainder of the period.

Fridays: "Fastlane" and "John Doe" will wrap their freshman seasons on April 25, the first Friday of the period. Movies will take over for the rest of sweeps with "Big Momma's House" on May 2, "The Matrix" on May 9 and "Me, Myself and Irene" on May 16.

Saturdays: "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" will continue to run fresh installments throughout the period including "Wanted's" "750th Capture Special Edition" on April 26. "Mad TV" will also close its season with new episodes each Saturday. Mandy Moore and Godsmack guest April 26, Missy Elliott appears May 3, Tom Arnold is the guest of honor May 10, and Nicole Sullivan spices up the series' season finale May 17, along with the cast of "Jackass."





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· 24 (FOX)
· AMERICAN IDOL (ABC)
· AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (LIFETIME)
· BERNIE MAC SHOW, THE (FOX)
· BOSTON PUBLIC (FOX)
· CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PRESENTS (FOX)
· COPS (PARAMOUNT)
· FASTLANE (FOX)
· FUTURAMA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· JACKASS (MTV)
· JOHN DOE (FOX)
· KING OF THE HILL (FOX)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· MR. PERSONALITY (FOX)
· OLIVER BEENE (FOX)
· PITTS, THE (FOX)
· PULSE, THE (FOX)
· SIMPSONS, THE (FOX)
· THAT '70S SHOW (FOX)
· WANDA AT LARGE (FOX)





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