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On the Tube: Fox wants to keep the women watching

Friday, May 16, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

This past season, Fox drew young women to its network with "Joe Millionaire" and "American Idol." The network aims to repeat the feat in the fall, this time with scripted dramas.

"Women came back to Fox, and you'll see from our schedule that we intend to keep them," said Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman in a teleconference with critics yesterday.

"Joe Millionaire" will return, but Berman would not discuss what form it will take other than the butler will be back.

Fantasy elements course through several new series, but the most provocative drama is "Skin," about star-crossed lovers -- the father of one peddles porn. Berman described it as a character-driven show that, though it will deal with the adult entertainment industry, "will not live in that world."

Canceled series include "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," "Fastlane," "John Doe" and "The Pitts."

Here's Fox's fall schedule, with new series in bold:


7 p.m.: "Oliver Beene"

7:30 p.m. "King of the Hill"

8 p.m.: "The Simpsons"

8:30 p.m. "The Ortegas" -- Based on a BBC series, this hybrid comedy/reality/talk show features the son (Al Madrigal) of immigrant parents (Cheech Marin, Terri Hoyos) who hosts a television show from the family's back yard.

9 p.m.: "Malcolm in the Middle"

9:30 p.m.: "Arrested Development" -- A widower (Jason Bateman) wants to leave the family business but must return after his father (Jeffrey Tambor) gets arrested for illegal accounting practices. David Cross and Portia de Rossi also star.


8 p.m.: "Joe Millionaire"

9 p.m.: "Skin" -- The son (D.J. Cotrona) of the Los Angeles district attorney (Kevin Anderson, "Nothing Sacred") falls in love with the daughter (Olivia Wilde) of a successful porn producer (Ron Silver, "The West Wing"), who's being prosecuted.


8 p.m.: "American Juniors" -- The second edition of this "American Idol" spin-off for kids, which premieres this summer.

9 p.m.: "24"


8 p.m.: "That '70s Show"

8:30 p.m. "A Minute with Stan Hooper" -- Norm Macdonald ("Norm") returns to TV as a newsmagazine commentator who moves from New York to Wisconsin with his wife (Penelope Ann Miller) to live in the heartland.

9 p.m.: "Bernie Mac"

9:30 p.m.: "Cedric the Entertainer Presents"


8 p.m.: "Tru Calling" -- Eliza Dushku (Faith on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") stars as a woman who works in a New York morgue and acquires the power to reverse the fates of the corpses in her care by reliving the day of their death. Think: A dark "Groundhog Day."

9 p.m.: "The O.C." -- A teen (Benjamin McKenzie) from the wrong side of the tracks moves to affluent Orange County, Calif., where he lives in the guest house of an idealistic public defender (Peter Gallagher"), and discovers life in the 'burbs is not as perfect as it might seem. Premieres in late summer.


8 p.m.: "Wanda at Large"

8:30 p.m. "Luis" -- Luis Guzman ("Traffic") plays the owner of a doughnut shop in Spanish Harlem who interacts with eccentric customers.

9 p.m.: "Boston Public"


8 p.m. "Cops"

9 p.m. "America's Most Wanted"


In addition to the return of "American Idol," midseason series ordered are:

"Wonderfalls" (8 p.m. Mondays in January) -- Kittanning native Todd Holland created and executive produces this one-hour dramedy about a souvenir shop worker (Caroline Dhavernas) who sees and hears inanimate objects talk to her. They lead her to help others in need. Holland calls it "Touched by a Crazy Person."

"Still Life" -- The story of a family told through the eyes of their dead son. Susanna Thompson ("Once and Again") and David Keith ("Daredevil") play the dead boy's parents. Jensen Ackles ("Dark Angel") plays one of his siblings in this drama.

"Cracking Up" -- Writer Mike White ("Pasadena") dreamed up this comedy starring Molly Shannon as the homemaking mother in a Beverly Hills family.

"Banzai" -- A reality show spoof of Japanese interactive variety shows.

UPN's plans

With the retirement of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," UPN will go for laughs on Tuesday night by creating a new two-hour comedy block, anchored by returning sitcom "One on One."

Canceled series include "Abby," "Haunted," "Platinum" and "The Twilight Zone." No midseason replacement series were announced.

Here's UPN's fall schedule, with new series in bold:


8 p.m.: "The Parkers"

8:30 p.m. "The Opposite Sex" -- Hip-hop star Eve stars as Shelly in this sitcom about relationships from both sides of the gender gap. Ali Landry ("Spy TV") plays one of Shelly's best friends.

9 p.m.: "Girlfriends"

9:30 p.m.: "Half & Half"


8 p.m.: "One on One"

8:30 p.m.: "All of Us" -- Executive produced by and based on the lives of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, this comedy is about a young couple living in the shadow of Robert's (Duane Martin) divorce from his self-absorbed first wife (LisaRaye). Robert is now in love with Tia (Elise Neal, "The Hughleys"), a kindergarten teacher.

9 p.m.: "Rock Me Baby" -- Sewickley native Dan Cortese ("Veronica's Closet") stars as a radio shock jock who's less shocking after the birth of his first son.

9:30 p.m.: "Mullets" -- The twentysomething Mullet brothers (Michael Weaver, David Hornsby) wear their hair in the style inspired by their name: "business in the front, party in the back." Loni Anderson ("WKRP in Cincinnati") plays their mom. John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld") is their new stepdad.


8 p.m.: "Enterprise"

9 p.m.: "Jake 2.0" -- A computer technician (Christopher Gorham, "Popular") gets transformed into a secret agent for the National Security Agency after he's accidentally injected with nanotechnology that gives him superhuman strength.


8 p.m.: "WWE Smackdown!"


8 p.m.: "UPN Movie Friday"

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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