Fox rolls out four new comedies

Mon May 17, 2010 2:54pm EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fox Broadcasting unveiled a U.S. prime-time TV lineup that looks to new comedies, the magic touch of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and the success of musical series "Glee" to bolster a schedule that has been tops with young audiences for six years running.

The biggest question left unanswered on Monday by Fox -- the second broadcast network to unveil its 2010-11 television schedule -- is how it plans to cope with the departure of American Idol judge Simon Cowell, long seen as the face of the most popular TV show in the United States.

Fox executives said on a conference call they are exploring new formats for the show, while looking for a replacement for Cowell with pop music credibility.

"There's no bigger question for the summer," said Peter Rice, chairman, entertainment, Fox Networks Group.

Fox, owned by News Corp, follows NBC in taking the wraps off its 2010-11 prime-time schedule. Walt Disney Co's ABC and CBS Corp's CBS are up next, before TV executives get down to the business of negotiating billions of dollars of TV ad sales in the annual bazaar known as the upfront market.

With the expected rebound in the advertising market from the lows of 2009, sales are likely to be up during this year's upfronts, so named because the dealmaking occurs before the TV season actually begins. By some estimates, ad dollars could be up 20 percent for the big four broadcast networks.

Fox finds itself in better shape than most of its rivals, 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."

But with Cowell leaving Idol and "24" finally coming to an end this year, Fox is entering uncharted territory and is taking a bet on new shows like Steven Spielberg-produced "Terra Nova," a sci-fi adventure series about a family who travels back in time millions of years.   Continued...