Fox looks to music, dance and laughs for TV lineup

Tue May 19, 2009 12:00am EDT
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By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fox Broadcasting took the wraps off a new prime-time TV lineup on Monday that banks on laughs from several new comedies, including the musical series "Glee," to reinforce a schedule that has been tops with young audiences for five years running.

Fox will preview "Glee" this week, before the hour-long comedy that follows a down-and-out high school musical club begins its regular Wednesday night run this fall.

Fox, owned by News Corp, is the first broadcast network to unveil its 2009-10 schedule. ABC, NBC and CBS will soon follow before TV executives get down to the business of negotiating billions of dollars of advertising sales.

Given the economy and generally weak ratings for prime- time, ad sales are likely to be down during this year's upfront market, so named because its occurs before the TV season actually begins. Last year, the broadcast networks brought in about $9.2 billion during the upfront period.

Fox finds itself in better shape than most of its rivals, however, because of its popularity with 18-49 year-old viewers. That can largely be attributed to the long-running success of "American Idol," as well as hit dramas such as "24" and "House."

Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said the network believed it could be "selective with pilots" due to its relative strength among younger viewers -- the most popular set with advertisers.

"We're in a pretty strong position right now from a programing standpoint," Reilly said on a conference call.

Still, some of the network's big bets for 2008-09 failed to make it with viewers, notably "Dollhouse," which looked set for cancellation, but will, in fact, be brought back this fall.   Continued...

<p>Performers (L-R) Kris Allen, Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Jorge Nunez, Alexis Grace, Anoop Desai, Allison Iraheta, Michael Sarver, Danny Gokey and Megan Corkrey pose at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>