Friday, May 16, 2008

Fox Unveils New SF Strategy

Fringe and Dollhouse, the two new genre shows that Fox will add to its schedule during the 2008-'09 season, will be the beneficiaries of an experimental strategy called "Remote-Free TV," the network announced during its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on May 15.

Fringe, the J.J. Abrams-produced series set to kick off with a two-hour premiere on Aug. 26, and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, which will debut in midseason, will both air with fewer commercials and fewer promotional spots for other Fox shows.

"It's a simple concept and potentially revolutionary," Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said during the presentation. "We're going to have less commercials, less promotional time and less reason for viewers to use the remote. We're going to redefine the viewing experience."

Liguori added: "Some people might think this is a scary financial prospect. We really see it as an investment. We need to give viewers a new reason to come to broadcast TV.?

Additionally, Fox revealed that Fringe will be filmed in New York and announced that it will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following House, in the fall. In early 2009, it will follow the juggernaut American Idol.

Also on the fall schedule is the returning SF series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will air on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. When it premieres early next year, Dollhouse will take over the Terminator timeslot.

The network briefly mentioned Boldly Going Nowhere, an SF sitcom spoof that is in development by the team behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. No pilot has been filmed yet.

The network made no mention of Virtuality, an SF pilot that Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor (SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica) are developing. --Ian Spelling

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