Ill-starred shows get second chance at Fox

Wed Jan 2, 2008 9:22pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox has tweaked its strike-affected midseason schedule, giving two troubled series, "New Amsterdam" and "The Return of Jezebel James," coveted previews behind ratings juggernaut "American Idol," which returns January 15.

Fox was the first network to rejigger its midseason lineup on November 7, the third day of the Hollywood writers strike, and has made the most dramatic strike-related scheduling move, keeping the incomplete season of "24" on the shelf until next season. Now that the work stoppage is shaping up to be a long one, Fox executives have taken another look at their lineup.

"As we have new information on our needs, we thought it was time to adjust the schedule," said scheduling chief Preston Beckman. "We want to make sure we give all new shows every opportunity to find an audience because we may need them."

The March 10 launch for the supernatural detective drama "New Amsterdam" will follow two previews after "Idol" Tuesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 6. The Parker Posey comedy "Jezebel James" will get sampling after "Idol" on Wednesday, March 12, two days ahead of its premiere. ("Idol" will expand to three nights a week for three weeks, beginning February 21.)

The strike has boosted both shows' chances, since fresh episodes of any shows are in strong demand. In October, Fox shut down production on "New Amsterdam" with seven episodes in the can, and cut the order on "Jezebel James" to 7 from 13.

"New Amsterdam" stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a New York City homicide detective who happens to be immortal, while "Jezebel James" stars Posey as a successful book editor who learns that she is unable to conceive.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter