Fox Plans Ambitious Fall Season, Adds Cowell, Spielberg Shows

The-X-Factor

The Fox network -- the longtime industry leader among 18-49 viewers, the ones advertisers desire most -- will look for a much stronger fall start than it has had in the last few years.

Key to this plan is Simon Cowell's performance-competition show "The X Factor," which hopes to pull in near-"American Idol"-type viewers. After much marketing buildup, it will finally get its big launch this fall, starting on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., for a 90-minute show and an hour results show at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

"X Factor" takes on the same time periods as "American Idol," which will get its usual seasonal start in January. Last year, "Idol" moved to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule from a Tuesday-Wednesday plan. The result was a decline in viewership -- although it remains the overwhelming No. 1-rated broadcast series.

After somewhat of a delay -- another big show will look to push up Fox in the upcoming season -- Steven Spielberg's futurist, dinosaur-laden adventure series "Terra Nova" will fill the 8 p.m. Monday time slot before "House" comes on at 9 p.m. "Terra Nova" was supposed to come onto the scene in the present broadcast year, midseason.

One concern is the NFL season -- and a possible lockout that could disrupt many fall network TV schedules, including Fox's. Peter Rice, chairman of Fox Entertainment, says: "We are planning on there being an NFL season, and are working on contingencies if there isn't."

Two new comedies will also begin this fall. "New Girl" debuts Tuesday at 9 p.m., right after "Glee." It is a single-camera ensemble comedy starring Zooey Deschanel, who -- after a bad breakup -- moves in with three single guys. After "X-Factor" on Wednesday, there is "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," which stars Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as single moms, lifelong friends and former nerds.

"Building out our comedy is our main goal," says Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Entertainment.

Another big drama from J.J. Abrams starts up midseason -- "Alcatraz" is a crime drama surrounding the famed West Coast prison. That airs Monday at 9 p.m. with "House" moving back to 8 p.m.

Also in midseason is "The Finder," a new procedural drama about an Iraq war veteran who has the ability to find those classified as unfindable. It comes on after "Idol" on Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Fox will also see a return of Kiefer Sutherland to the schedule -- but there is no timetable right now. The star of "24" comes back with "Touch," which centers on the relationship between a single father and his 11-year-old son.

Fox will also send out two new animated series on Sunday. "Allen Gregory" concerns a pretentious 7-year-old about to embark on his greatest challenge -- attending elementary school with children his own age. It goes at 8:30 p.m. and is voiced and created by Jonah Hill. Then in midseason, "Napoleon Dynamite," based on the theatrical movie, goes at 8:30 p.m. replacing "Gregory."

Given the big changes in this schedule, Reilly says Fox is taking more chances: "We could have been more conservative." Instead, he notes a number of Fox shows that were canceled could have been placed on other networks. Fox did not renew "Human Target," "Lie To Me," "Traffic Light," "Chicago Code" and "Breaking In" -- some of its modestly rated shows that did not make the schedule.

Fox Fall 2011 Prime-Time Schedule

(All Times ET/PT)

Monday

8:00-9:00 p.m. TERRA NOVA (new)

9:00-10:00 p.m. HOUSE

Tuesday

8:00-9:00 p.m. GLEE

9:00-9:30 p.m. NEW GIRL (new)

9:30-10:00 p.m. RAISING HOPE

Wednesday

8:00-9:30 p.m. THE X FACTOR Performance Show (new)

9:30-10:00 p.m. I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER (new)

Thursday

8:00-9:00 p.m. THE X FACTOR Results Show (new)

9:00-10:00 p.m. BONES

Friday

8:00-9:00 p.m. KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

9:00-10:00 p.m. FRINGE

Saturday

8:00-8:30 p.m. COPS

8:30-9:00 p.m. COPS

9:00-10:00 p.m. ENCORES / AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (specials)

Sunday

7:00-7:30 p.m. THE OT (NFL post-game)

7:30-8:00 p.m. THE CLEVELAND SHOW

8:00-8:30 p.m. THE SIMPSONS

8:30-9:00 p.m. ALLEN GREGORY (new)

9:00-9:30 p.m. FAMILY GUY

9:30-10:00 p.m. AMERICAN DAD

Fox Midseason 2012 Prime-Time Schedule

(All Times ET/PT)

Monday

8:00-9:00 p.m. HOUSE

9:00-10:00 p.m. ALCATRAZ (new)

Tuesday

8:00-9:00 p.m. GLEE

9:00-9:30 p.m. NEW GIRL (new)

9:30-10:00 p.m. RAISING HOPE

Wednesday

8:00-9:30 p.m. AMERICAN IDOL Performance Show

9:30-10:00 p.m. I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER (new)

Thursday

8:00-9:00 p.m. AMERICAN IDOL Results Show

9:00-10:00 p.m. THE FINDER (new) / BONES (spring)

Friday

8:00-9:00 p.m. KITCHEN NIGHTMARES

9:00-10:00 p.m. FRINGE

Saturday

8:00-8:30 p.m. COPS

8:30-9:00 p.m. COPS

9:00-10:00 p.m. ENCORES / AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (specials)

Sunday

7:00-7:30 p.m. ANIMATION DOMINATION (encores)

7:30-8:00 p.m. THE CLEVELAND SHOW

8:00-8:30 p.m. THE SIMPSONS

8:30-9:00 p.m. NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (new)

9:00-9:30 p.m. FAMILY GUY

9:30-10:00 p.m. BOB'S BURGERS

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