Two new comedies, Free Ride and The Loop, will soon join FOX's spring schedule, which also features the return of hit drama Prison Break and new time periods for veteran comedies The Bernie Mac Show and Malcolm in the Middle.
A partially improvised comedy, Free Ride follows recent college graduate Nate Stahlings (Josh Dean) as he moves back in with his parents in a small Midwestern town, with no life plans past doing his laundry. A preview episode airs Wednesday, March 1 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT), after a special 90-minute episode of American Idol in which the 10 female semifinalists will perform. Free Ride premieres in its regular time period Sunday, March 12 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT). American Dad returns in late April after Free Ride completes its run.
When Nate returns home from college, he discovers his mom MARGO (Loretta Fox) and dad BOB (Allan Havey) are knee-deep in marriage therapy and his bedroom has been turned into a gym. The good news is that Nate reconnects with cute former-classmate-turned-local-bank-teller Amber Danwood (Erin Cahill); the bad news is she's newly engaged.
Nate also hooks up with That '70s Show (Dave Sheridan), a guy who peaked in high school and has been cruising downhill in his monster truck ever since. The assistant manager of the auto section at the local Kash Kutters, Dove takes Nate under his "wing" to show him the local party scene, which turns out to be way more mild than wild. Unsure of where his life is headed anyway, and hopeful that Amber can overcome that nasty little "fiancé" business of hers, Nate decides to stay home for just a little while longer as he transitions into the next stage of development: Real Life.
The Loop launches with a special preview Wednesday, March 15 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) following the American Idol Results Show, the first in which a finalist will be sent home. The following night, Thursday, March 16, the new comedy premieres in its regular time period (8:30-9:30 PM ET/PT) after THAT ‘70s SHOW. Stacked will return later in the season.
Set in Chicago, The Loop is the story of SAM (Bret Harrison), the youngest executive at the corporate headquarters of a major airline and the first of his friends to get a real job. Sam must find a way to straddle his serious career and the serious social demands of his three roommates. Sully (Eric Christian Olsen) is Sam's older and rowdier brother, whose casual attempts to hold down a series of odd jobs are eclipsed by his attempts to land women. Piper (Amanda Loncar) is a medical student, Sam's college pal and – unbeknownst to her – his longtime crush. And Lizzy (Sarah Mason), who tends bar at their local hangout, is oblivious to the fact that everything always goes her way because she's so smoking hot. As Sam strives to meet the relentless demands of his boss RUSS (Philip Baker Hall), dodge the nonstop advances of his colleague Meryl (Mimi Rogers), manage his overqualified and somewhat bitter secretary Darcy (Joy Osmanski) and turn his best-friendship with Piper into romance, he is, by turns, ambitious, exhausted and inspired. Moreover, he is a hero for everyone who has ever tried to work hard and play hard at the same time.
Malcolm in the Middle, in its seventh and final season on FOX, returns to the Sunday night lineup beginning Jan. 29 (7:00-7:30 PM ET/PT).
In the "College Recruiters" episode airing Sunday, Jan. 29, Dewey visits a broke and disheveled Francis, and just as he talks him into getting a real job, his rocker friend shows up and hands him a cool gig as tour manager of the band. Meanwhile, Malcolm refuses to meet with college recruiters, so Hal takes over and treats each one as a suitor until Malcolm chooses Harvard – which ruins everything for Hal on an all-new episode of Malcolm in the Middle.
FOX doubles the fun on Friday nights with back-to-back episodes of The Bernie Mac Show (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) beginning Jan. 20.
In the first episode on Jan. 20 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT), "Exercise in Fertility," Wanda sees a fertility specialist and begins daily fertility injections in hopes of increasing her chances of pregnancy. But after two months and major mood swings, she takes time off to discuss other options. A false alarm gives hope to the Macs but with all their focus on a baby, Bernie and Wanda neglect the kids they already have.
Next, in "Father Knows Best" (Friday, Jan. 20, 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT), Bryan (Anthony Anderson), a cool guy from the Chicago block, arrives on Bernie's doorstep, claiming he's Bryana's father. Bernie is cautiously supportive – until Bryan ignores Jordan and Vanessa, and tries to buy Bryana's affection.
The 100th episode of The Bernie Mac Show airs Friday, Feb. 3 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT). In this milestone episode, "Bar Mitzvah Crashers," Bernie pushes Jordan to hang out with David, a new neighbor who is Jewish, in order to expand his cultural horizons. Jordan thinks the kid is a total nerd and hangs out with him begrudgingly, but the two become fast friends when David introduces Jordan to the Jewish bar mitzvah tradition and he's amazed by how elaborate the parties are, especially the gift bags. Jordan has a difficult decision to make when he's invited to what will surely be the biggest bar mitzvah of the year, but it conflicts with David's own bar mitzvah. Meanwhile, Bryana's eavesdropping gets out of hand, pitting Wanda against Vanessa
As previously announced, the most talked-about new drama this season returns in March as Prison Break returns with an encore of the fall finale, "End of Tunnel," on Monday, March 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The series continues with thrilling, all-original episodes – no repeats for the rest of the season – beginning Monday, March 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).
Another of FOX's hit dramas, BONES, moves to its new Wednesday time period in March. Having followed American Idol on Wednesdays from Jan. 25 to Feb. 15, the series makes its time period premiere Wednesday, March 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), leading into an American Idol performance show featuring the eight female semifinalists.
FOX SPRING SCHEDULE (All times ET/PT):
8:00-9:00 PM Prison Break (Time Period Premiere March 20)
9:00-10:00 PM 24
8:00-9:00 PM American Idol Performance Show
9:00-10:00 PM HOUSE
8:00-9:00 PM BONES (Time Period Premiere March 8)
9:00-9:30 PM American Idol Results Show
(Time Period Premiere March 15)
9:30-10:00 PM Free Ride (Preview March 1)
The Loop (Preview March 15)
TBA (Premiere March 22)
8:00-8:30 PM THAT '70s SHOW
8:30-9:00 PM The Loop (Time Period Premiere March 16)
9:00-10:00 PM THE O.C.
8:00-8:30 PM The Bernie Mac Show
8:30-9:00 PM The Bernie Mac Show
(Time Period Premiere Jan. 20)
9:00-10:00 PM TRADING SPOUSES: MEET YOUR NEW MOMMY
8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK
11:00 PM-12:00 AM MADtv
7:00-7:30 PM Malcolm in the Middle
(Time Period Premiere Jan. 29)
7:30-8:00 PM KING OF THE HILL
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM THE WAR AT HOME
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM Free Ride (Time Period Premiere March 12)