[11/14/03 - 12:00 AM]
Correction: FOX to Be 'Cracking' and 'Straight' on Mondays
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Correction: FOX has informed us that this information, taken from USA Today's Friday issue, is incorrect. No air date information has been announced yet for either "Cracking Up" or "Playing It Straight."

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX has provided the first glimpse at its midseason schedule as the network announced today the debuts of two new series. "Cracking Up," a new comedy featuring Molly Shannon and Chris McDonald, and "Playing It Straight," a new reality series that puts a straight twist on Bravo's "Boy Meets Boy," will both premiere Monday, January 12.

"Cracking Up," which will air at 8:30/7:30c, stars Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore") as Ben, "a psychology graduate student who lands the clinical opportunity of a lifetime when he moves into the guest house of a wealthy Beverly Hills family to counsel their introverted youngest son," according to a network press release. "Once settled into his new surroundings, Ben realizes that this seemingly perfect family home is actually a breeding ground for dysfunction, neuroses, and paranoia and his young patient is the least of his worries."

Schwartzman replaces Nicholas D'Agosto on the comedy, who exited the series in September to become a regular on NBC's "ER" (read the story). Shannon ("Saturday Night Live," "Superstar"), McDonald ("Family Law," "Happy Gilmore"), David Walton, Caitlin Wachs, Jake Sandvig and Nathan Norton round out the cast. Mike White ("School of Rock") created and is the executive producer of the series, a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television and Brad Grey Television, along with Brad Grey.

As for "Straight," which will fill the 9:00/8:00c hour, the reality series follows a single, straight woman as she looks for love among a pool of single men on a Western-style dude ranch. The twist in this case, along the lines of the aforementioned Bravo series, is that some of the men are gay pretending to be straight. If she ultimately chooses a straight mate, she wins a substantial cash prize (believed to be near $1 million) but if a gay man fools her, he gets the cash. Unlike "Boy" however, those involved with the series were aware of the twist at the start of production. Jeremy Mills and Ciara Byrne of Lion Television are the executive producers of the series, which was developed under the title "Who Will She Choose?"

It's not clear how many episodes of each series FOX has ordered or what will air in the Monday, 8:00/7:00c half-hour. FOX had previously announced at its upfront presentation (read the story) that the midseason dramedy "Wonderfalls" was being eyed for the Monday, 8:00/7:00c hour come January however that doesn't seem to be the case any longer. It also seems unlikely that struggling Friday drama "Boston Public" will return to its old Monday home any time soon based on this news.

As for the rest of its midseason schedule, FOX has yet to reveal the exact start date for the third season of "American Idol." Also on tap for midseason are the drama "Still Life," the comedy "The Ortegas," new episodes of "Cedric the Entertainer Presents" and the reality trio of "Love Again," "The Swan" and "The Complex."

  [november 2003]  

· ER (NBC)

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