Recently Fox held a press conference to announce their 2007-2008 Programming Schedule. On hand were Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori, President of sales Jon Nesvig and Executive Vice President of Strategic Program Planning Preston Beckman.
Peter Liguori: Good morning or good afternoon, depending on where you all are. Our strategy for next season is really based on stability. Improving our 4th Quarter with early launches... maximizing our powerful January surge and creating a stronger schedule across the week. Regarding stability, this coming season we're going to have 17 out of 17 returning shows that are going to air on the same night. I don't think we can ask for more consistency than that. We're gonna have such returning hits as American Idol, America's Got Talent, 24, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Prison Break, Bones and our breakout hit show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Because of all these show's we're able to build a schedule that shows strength and incredible stability across the board. Our 4th Quarter is going to be dramatically improved because the baseball and World Series preemptions have changed a lot. Specifically, we're going to be decreasing from 26 nights down to 14. 14 nights of possible preemptions with three nights Monday, Tuesday and Friday being preempted only once. Our break will be considerably shorter allowing us to build a more consistent schedule.
When January arrives, Fox, as always, has a first quarter unlike any other network. We bring back American Idol and 24, we're also going to have a hugely successful BCS Championship series, along with the Daytona 500, an NFC Championship game and of course the Super Bowl.
This fall we're going to be bringing back proven performers and returning series on 6 of the 7 nights to provide an established companion for all our new programs. In the Fall, on Mondays K-Ville starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser. K-Ville will be airing at 9pm. Tuesdays, New Amsterdam, which is Directed by three time Oscar nominee Lasse Hallstrom is going to open the night at 8pm. It also stars newcomer Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a police detective with an unusual past. Wednesday, we're gonna kick off with the only comedy of the hour. That new Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton half hour show, Back to You opens at 8pm. Followed by Brad Garrett in 'Til Death at 8:30pm. Thursday, Gordon Ramsay appears in the only unscripted show in that time period Kitchen Nightmares. And Friday at 8pm, the search for the next great American band. This show comes to us from the producers of American Idol. Then at 9pm, from the producers of Laguna Beach we have a show called Nashville, which is kind of an unscripted show that looks at a group of young people pursuing their musical dreams in the cradle of country music, mainly Nashville, TN. This is also the only unscripted series of the time period.
Then when American Idol and 24 return in January, we're gonna move some of our shows, combining them with some of our strongest companions during our typically powerful spring. Spring 2008 is gonna look something like this:
Monday, we're moving K-Ville to 8pm. In January we're gonna play out the entire season and then bring back Prison Break at 8pm in March. Giving us a continuous hour of original programming all season long. As expected, both are followed by another season of 24 beginning in January and running non-stop through May. Wednesday, Back to You at 8pm is gonna be followed by Parkey Posey and Lauren Ambrose as two very different sisters in The Return of Jezebel James. We're also going to have the Farrelly Brothers comedy, The Rules for Starting Over available in the Spring. We want to make sure that we have some fresh programming that we can air. Thursday, Juliana Margulies returns to network television in Canterbury's Law at 9pm. On Friday, we're gonna create a whole new night of drama. Bones will move from Wednesday to Friday kicking off the night at 8pm. Followed by New Amsterdam which will move from Tuesday to a Friday spot at 9pm. Sunday, we're gonna maintain our animation block.
In January, we're actually gonna start the block earlier. King of the Hill is starting at 7pm. American Dad! at 7:30pm. The Simpsons at 8pm. And Family Guy at 8:30pm. At 9pm, we're gonna do something bold, we're gonna schedule The Sarah Connor Chronicles, this is where The X Files became such a huge hit.
That's our schedule. I gotta tell you I'm very happy with it. I think it speaks directly to our young adult base."
After this, Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori, President of sales Jon Nesvig and Executive Vice President of Strategic Program Planning Preston Beckman fielded some questions from journalists.
Do you know if the Fall schedule is going to roll out in August? Are you worried about K-Ville debuting on the 2nd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina?
Peter Liguori: First of all, the fact that we're moving a baseball hiatus of four weeks to one or two weeks, we can probably start later than we usually do with the week we choose. However, with all that being said we're gonna have to start earlier than everyone else. In terms of the Katrina Anniversary, I gotta admit you just gave me some new information.
Peter, are you satisfied with 24's quality this season?
Peter Liguori: I think that the good news... it has really fueled the showrunners to be more daring with that they give us this year. Again, almost the same thing I could say about American Idol. If any show's improved every year it's 24. I always compared 24 to a James Bond movie. Where each Bond movie offers a different villain and a different love interest and the audience comes along for the ride. Next year, I have every confidence that the show is going to be taking the most daring, audacious swing at the plate with 24 and I think, ultimately, that's a big, big part of the viewing experience.
What platforms are you going to use to sell the Fox shows in the fall?
Peter Liguori: Look promotionally, the internet is the great, great new world. I think Chris Carlisle and his people have a very firm grasp on what we can do from a marketing front. We just hired someone from Yahoo! Media and I think we are going to be incredibly aggressive on the internet front, we're going to be very creative on the internet front. I encourage our folks in L.A. to not be afraid to make mistakes. I want them to experiment. I don't think we all know exactly what we have in our hands.
Do you think Back to You could bring back the sitcom?
Peter Liguori: First, we're the only comedy on that night at that hour. Two, I think Kelsey and Patty are big, known, grand, comedic talented names. Its almost, in an odd way, like bringing back a returning show. As for the show itself? The show is funny. That's why its on the schedule. We know full well that the audience is watching comedy in greater numbers than they ever have. They're just not watching new comedies. I think this is a new take on a conventional format.
How big a part will music play on Nashville?
Peter Liguori: Yeah, you'll see the kids perform. The emphasis is going to be on the soap. Not on the music. When you see the talent, they're really good songwriters, but the songs and their performances are gonna fuel the drama. The drama's not setting up the song. Far and away, I wanted an emphasis on an unscripted soap that happens to have a music foundation not vice versa.