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[01/16/04 - 12:00 AM]
TCA Winter Press Tour: Fox
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association continued its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters.

Here's a breakdown of the highlights of FOX's presentation (via press release):

"MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE" CELEBRATES 100th EPISODE SUNDAY, FEB. 22, ON FOX

Laurie Metcalf Guest-Stars

We may not know Lois' last name, exactly what Hal does for a living or where Malcolm and his brothers live, but we do know that MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE reaches its landmark 100th episode Sunday, Feb. 22 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

In the milestone 100th episode, "Lois' Sister," Lois' (Jane Kaczmarek) younger sister, Susan (guest star Laurie Metcalf), pays the family a visit and brings with her expensive gifts for the boys, biting remarks for Lois and a cold shoulder for Hal (Bryan Cranston) � whom she has never forgiven for dumping her for Lois. Lois and Susan's competitive relationship takes a turn for the worse when Susan gives Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) and Reese (Justin Berfield) her prize '65 Mustang convertible. But when Lois discovers that Susan needs a kidney transplant, she puts her anger aside and offers to donate her kidney to Susan, which Susan only sees as the perfect opportunity for Lois to one-up her.

Winner of the prestigious Peabody Award and five Emmys to date, MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, now in its fifth season, continues to be one of the most distinctive and creative series on television. The series has garnered four Television Critics Association Awards, two Family Friendly Awards and a Grammy. The series has also received nominations for numerous other honors including the Golden Globe, The Humanitas Prize and Writers' Guild and Producers' Guild Awards.

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE is a Regency Television production created and executive produced by Linwood Boomer. Gary Murphy, Neil Thompson, Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein, Alex Reid and Rob Ulin serve as co-executive producers.

LIVING WITH DSYFUNCTION HAS NEVER BEEN SO FUNNY WITH THE SERIES PREMIERE OF "CRACKING UP" MONDAY, MARCH 8, ON FOX

Series Stars Molly Shannon ("Saturday Night Live"), Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore") and Chris McDonald ("Happy Gilmore") Created, Written and Executive-Produced by Award-Winning Mike White ("School of Rock, "The Good Girl")

FOX will debut the new comedy series CRACKING UP Monday, March 8 (8:30 PM-9:00 PM ET/PT).

Created, written and executive-produced by Mike White ("School of Rock," "The Good Girl"), CRACKING UP follows Ben (Jason Schwartzman), a young psychology graduate student who is given the clinical opportunity of a lifetime when he is assigned to counsel the introverted youngest son (Bret Loehr, "Identity") of the Shackletons. This wealthy Beverly Hills family appears to have it all � Lesley, the happy homemaker (Molly Shannon); her doting and successful husband, Ted (Chris McDonald); their athletically superior son, Preston (Jake Sandvig); and their beautiful and popular daughter, Chloe (Caitlin Wachs). Only their youngest child, Tanner, doesn't seem to fit into this "perfect" family picture.

Once settled into the family's guest house, however, Ben begins to see things as they really are -- Tanner has good reason to be reclusive, since his family's neuroses would give Sigmund Freud a headache.

CRACKING UP is produced by Brad Grey Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Mike White, Brad Grey and Peter Traugott serve as executive producers. Dave Hemingson and Al Higgins are co-executive producers.

"COPS" CELEBRATES ITS 550th EPISODE

BACK-TO-BACK ''WAR ON DRUGS: SPECIAL EDITION'' EPISODES AIRING SATURDAY, FEB. 7, ON FOX

Currently in its 16th season, the four-time Emmy Award-nominated series COPS will celebrate its 550th episode, making it one of the longest-running entertainment shows on television. The 550th episode is the first of back-to-back "War on Drugs: Special Edition" episodes that feature stings and drug dealers' bizarre behavior on Saturday, Feb. 7 (8:00 - 8:30 and 8:30 - 9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

In the milestone 550th episode (8:00 - 8:30 PM ET/PT), Officer Jason DeGroat of the Passaic County, N.J., Sheriff's Department assists another unit in search of a vehicle after observing it suspiciously leaving a high-traffic drug area. Officer DeGroat spots the vehicle and a pursuit ensues; Corporal Anthony Damiano locates the suspect and demands an explanation. In another segment, Officer Nick Krau of the Maui County, Hawaii, Police Department attempts to pull over a vehicle for a minor infraction when the driver reacts abruptly, causing a chase through a condominium complex.

In the second "War on Drugs: Special Edition" episode (8:30 � 9:00 PM ET/PT), Sgt. Valentino Demps of the Jacksonville, Fla., Sheriff's Office and his narcotics unit serve a search warrant at a house where undercover agents previously purchased drugs. At the scene, several armed agents storm the front door of the residence and take a suspect into custody, along with a significant amount of crack cocaine and marijuana. Once the residence is secured, two undercover agents set up a mini-reverse sting operation in an attempt to nab unsuspecting buyers.

John Langley is the creator and executive producer of COPS for Langley Productions, Inc. in association with FTSP. COPS is currently syndicated to more than 90 percent of the country.

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER � OR DOES IT? "FOREVER EDEN" PREMIERES MONDAY, MARCH 1, ON FOX

FOREVER EDEN, a new series breaking ground as the first open-ended unscripted soap opera, with contestants aiming to stay on the show for weeks, months and possibly even years, premieres Monday, March 1 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Beginning Thursday, March 18, FOREVER EDEN will air in its regularly scheduled time period (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

FOREVER EDEN follows a small group of people willing to take an indefinite break from their everyday lives to experience the opportunity of a lifetime by living together in a luxurious, tropical-resort-setting. These single men and women are ready to trade in their cell phones for suntan lotion, business suits for bathing suits, the "temp" pool for a swimming pool, in order to bask in the sun and soak up the fun � and the longer they stay, the more money they can earn.

But this Eden has its own version of the serpent, guaranteeing that things aren't always what they seem and paradise has its price. Surprises and twists are around every corner. The residents' deepest secrets may be revealed or former flames and in-laws may show up unannounced, making waves in what they thought would be peaceful waters.

There will also be some residents forced out � and replaced by new contestants armed with knowledge gleaned from having viewed the series at home. And although the residents will be earning money throughout their stay, those who throw in the towel and leave on their own volition could go with empty pockets.

If they can handle the unexpected, avoid being evicted and live without their friends and families back home, these contestants could potentially spend months or years as residents of Eden, forming relationships and creating their own storylines to ensure that they remain on-air as docu-soap stars and live the life of luxury they crave.

Will they spend FOREVER in EDEN? Only time will tell.

FOREVER EDEN is produced by Mentorn in association with A. Smith and Co. Tom Gutteridge, Arthur Smith, Charles Thompson, Bruce Toms and Kent Weed serve as executive producers.

SURRENDER TO DESTINY AS NEW SERIES "WONDERFALLS" PREMIERES FRIDAY, MARCH 12 ON FOX

WONDERFALLS, FOX's uplifting new one-hour dramedy about a Niagara Falls tourist-shop clerk whose life is dramatically altered when inanimate figures begin talking to her, premieres Friday, March 12 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Jaye Tyler, played by French Canadian actress Caroline Dhavernas ("The Tulse Luper Suitcase"), is the underachieving 20-something heroine who questions her sanity when objects � including toys, cartoons and anything in the form of an animal � begin to talk to her. Each week, the creatures give Jaye cryptic messages, setting into motion a chain of unpredictable events that invariably lead Jaye into the lives of others in need.

Created by Bryan Fuller ("Dead Like Me") and Todd Holland (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE), and executive-produced by Fuller, Holland and Tim Minear ("Angel"), WONDERFALLS focuses on Jaye as she meddles in, muddles up and ultimately betters the lives of herself and the eclectic variety of strangers who cross her path.

Throughout the bizarre situations and madcap adventures, Jaye soon discovers that the inanimate objects tend to become especially vocal when she interacts with her family members, who include her high-maintenance mother, Karen (Diana Scarwid), her outspoken father, Darrin (William Sadler), her seemingly straight-laced sister, Sharon (Katie Finneran), and her sarcastic brother, Aaron (Lee Pace).

Jaye often seeks advice from her best buddy, Mahandra (Tracie Thoms), and befriends Eric (Tyron Leitso), a local bartender, to try to answer her lingering questions. Is the universe conspiring against her? Is this real or just her imagination? Should she surrender to destiny? Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain �the seemingly random events in Jaye's life will change the world around her for the better.

WONDERFALLS is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television. The series is executive produced and created by Fuller and Holland.





  [january 2004]  
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· ANGEL (WB)
· COPS (SPIKE TV)
· CRACKING UP (FOX)
· DEAD LIKE ME (SHOWTIME)
· FOREVER EDEN (FOX)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· WONDERFALLS (FOX)





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