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[05/26/04 - 12:00 AM]
2004 Broadcast Upfront Presentations Wrap-Up, Part 3
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- Plans change. Nothing is set in stone. That's more or less what one should keep in mind when looking at the broadcast networks' upfront presentations. In recent years this has become especially evident as shuffling the deck chairs over the summer and even during the season itself is quickly becoming a spectator's sport.

A perfect example of this was FOX last season as their fall 2003 schedule announced last May was significantly different from what would eventually make it to air:

FOX'S FALL 2003 SCHEDULE
(as originally announced on May 16, 2004)

Mondays
8:00/7:00c - "Joe Millionaire 2"
9:00/8:00c - "Skin" (New Series)

Tuesdays
8:00/7:00c - "American Juniors 2"
9:00/8:00c - "24"

Wednesdays
8:00/7:00c - "That '70s Show"
8:30/7:30c - "A Minute With Stan Hooper" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "The Bernie Mac Show"
9:30/8:30c - "Cedric the Entertainer Presents"

Thursdays
8:00/7:00c - "Tru Calling" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "The O.C." (New Series)

Fridays
8:00/7:00c - "Wanda at Large"
8:30/7:30c - "Luis" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "Boston Public"

Saturdays
8:00/7:00c - "Cops" (1)
8:30/7:30c - "Cops" (2)
9:00/8:00c - "America's Most Wanted"

Sundays
7:00/6:00c - "Oliver Beene"
7:30/6:30c - "King of the Hill"
8:00/7:00c - "The Simpsons"
8:30/7:30c - "The Ortegas" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "Malcolm in the Middle"
9:30/8:30c - "Arrested Development" (New Series)

FOX'S FALL 2003 SCHEDULE
(as it would finally appear)

Mondays
8:00/7:00c - "Joe Millionaire 2"
9:00/8:00c - "Skin" (New Series)

Tuesdays
8:00/7:00c - (Various Programming)
9:00/8:00c - "24"

Wednesdays
8:00/7:00c - "That '70s Show"
8:30/7:30c - "A Minute With Stan Hooper" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "The O.C." (New Series)

Thursdays
8:00/7:00c - "Tru Calling" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - (Various Programming)

Fridays
8:00/7:00c - "Wanda at Large"
8:30/7:30c - "Luis" (New Series)
9:00/8:00c - "Boston Public"

Saturdays
8:00/7:00c - "Cops" (1)
8:30/7:30c - "Cops" (2)
9:00/8:00c - "America's Most Wanted"

Sundays
7:00/6:00c - (Various Programming)
7:30/6:30c - "King of the Hill"
8:00/7:00c - "The Simpsons"
8:30/7:30c - "The Bernie Mac Show"
9:00/8:00c - "Malcolm in the Middle"
9:30/8:30c - "Arrested Development" (New Series)

And that was just the beginning of FOX's schedule meddling last season: "Wonderfalls," which was originally set to inherit "Joe Millionaire's" Monday, 8:00/7:00c slot in January 2004, wound up bowing in March on Friday nights; both "The Ortegas" and "Still Life" never made it to air; "Cedric" would never burn off its final installments as previously planned; and "Banzai," originally ordered for midseason 2004, would flounder that summer and never return.

With that in mind, looking at FOX's recently released three-tiered schedule (June-October, November-January and January-June), one can't help but be slightly skeptical that at this time next year said plans will hold true.

Such changes aren't limited to FOX however as virtually all the broadcast networks made adjustments to their 2003-04 season plans:

-- "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" was originally slated for Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c by ABC come January 2004 however the network opted to run the series Wednesdays at 10:00/9:00c starting in March 2004. Interestingly enough ABC would go on to move it back to Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c after its floundering in the Wednesday slot.

-- The WB's fall 2003 schedule put the Rachael Leigh Cook drama "Fearless" after "Gilmore Girls" on Tuesdays. By July however, the Frog decided to move up its midseason entry "One Tree Hill" to take its place while "Fearless" wound up never moving beyond the pilot stage.

-- By that same token, the majority of the WB's midseason plans announced at its upfront presentation went the way of "Fearless": the untitled "Gilmore Girls" spin-off, "Make My Day" and "The Mayor" wouldn't find their way to the airwaves.

-- Some projects even underwent title changes between their announcement in May and their premiere dates: UPN's "Eve" was originally titled "The Opposite Sex," ABC's "Married to the Kellys" began as "Back to Kansas," CBS' "Navy N.C.I.S." was initially referred to as "Navy C.I.S.," and the WB's "Tarzan" originally featured "and Jane" in its title.

-- Wednesday comedy "The Stones" was originally set to bow in the fall following "King of Queens" however CBS would opt to run the sixth season of "Becker" in its place. "The Stones" would go on to bomb quickly in said slot in the spring.

Overall, only NBC's 2003 upfront remained in check with its actual schedule. So the lesson learned from all this: like everything else in television, don't believe it until you actually see it. Undoubtedly over the course of the summer you'll see more than one change to what was announced last week in New York City.

Click here to read ABC's original 2003 upfront presentation press release.

Click here to read CBS' original 2003 upfront presentation press release.

Click here to read FOX's original 2003 upfront presentation press release.

Click here to read NBC's original 2003 upfront presentation press release.

Click here to read UPN's original 2003 upfront presentation press release.

Click here to read the WB's original 2003 upfront presentation press release.





  [may 2004]  
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· 24 (FOX)
· AMERICAN JUNIORS (FOX)
· AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (LIFETIME)
· ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (NETFLIX)
· BANZAI (FOX)
· BECKER (CBS)
· BERNIE MAC SHOW, THE (FOX)
· BOSTON PUBLIC (FOX)
· CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PRESENTS (FOX)
· COPS (SPIKE TV)
· EVE (UPN)
· FEARLESS (WB)
· GILMORE GIRLS (CW)
· JOE MILLIONAIRE (FOX)
· KING OF QUEENS, THE (CBS)
· KING OF THE HILL (FOX)
· LUIS (FOX)
· MAKE MY DAY (TV LAND)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· MARRIED TO THE KELLYS (ABC)
· MAYOR, THE (WB)
· MINUTE WITH STAN HOOPER, A (FOX)
· NCIS (CBS)
· OC, THE (FOX)
· OLIVER BEENE (FOX)
· ONE TREE HILL (CW)
· ORTEGAS, THE (FOX)
· SIMPSONS, THE (FOX)
· SKIN (FOX)
· STEPHEN KING'S KINGDOM HOSPITAL (ABC)
· STILL LIFE (FOX)
· STONES, THE (CBS)
· TARZAN (WB)
· THAT '70S SHOW (FOX)
· TRU CALLING (FOX)
· UNTITLED GILMORE GIRLS PROJECT (WB)
· WANDA AT LARGE (FOX)
· WONDERFALLS (FOX)









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