[07/18/03 - 12:00 AM]
TCA Summer Press Tour: Fox, Day 2
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its summer press tour last week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters. This week sees the tour's focus shift to the broadcast networks as FOX held the second of its two sessions on Friday for the press.

Here's a breakdown of the highlights of FOX's presentation:

-- FOX outlined its launch strategy for its new drama "The O.C.," which bows Tuesday, August 5 at 9:00/8:00c. The series will air for seven weeks (up through September 16) then go on hiatus until November sweeps (which starts October 30) where it will assume its fall time slot of Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c. (FOX's MLB playoff coverage will pre-empt most of its schedule during October.) The network does not have huge expectations for the show as executives said they'd be "thrilled" to see it get an 8 or 9 share during its initial run. Key however is its performance in women 12-34, its target demographic for the series. Regardless, executives stressed they are committed to keeping the show on the air despite stiff competition this fall by CBS' "C.S.I." and NBC's comedies. Lastly, also as part of the show's launch, FOX and America Online have partnered to create "AOL's 'The O.C.' Music Showcase." The partnership will premiere a clip of a new music video from different artists each week during broadcasts of the series.

-- While a second round of "American Juniors" was originally planned to fill the Tuesday, 8:00/7:00c hole this fall until "American Idol" returns in January, that's looking less and less likely to be the case. The network wasn't specific however Preston Beckman, FOX's executive VP of strategic program planning, mentioned another younger skewing show will take over the slot once "Juniors" wraps in August. Still on FOX's backburner is a new edition of "Temptation Island" and the music-driven "Soundmix."

-- FOX executives also announced the network has pushed back its upcoming reality series "The Simple Life" until midseason. The series, a reality take on "Green Acres" starring "rich girls" Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, was originally scheduled to debut Wednesday, August 13 at 8:30/7:30c. No replacement series was named for FOX's summer schedule.

Upcoming TCA schedule: Sunday-Monday (July 20-21) - CBS; Tuesday (July 22) - UPN; Thursday-Friday (July 24-25) - NBC

This article was updated on Monday, July 21 with additional information.

  [july 2003]  


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