NEW YORK - Fox, the network that comes to life with a bang every January with the return of "American Idol" and "24," may be No. 1 among the under-50 viewers advertisers love, but it still needs a plan to keep the lights on in the fall, when baseball crowds its schedule and its rivals go all out with new shows.

This year's plan includes a drama about post-Katrina New Orleans, a comedy about local news anchors starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton and "Idol" producers' "Search for the Next Great American Band."

That, and a revised baseball schedule that Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori yesterday told reporters would cut pre-emptions nearly in half and leave three nights - Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays - with only one pre-emption apiece.

* New for fall: "K-Ville" (9 p.m. Mondays), a police drama set in New Orleans starring "The Shield's" Anthony Anderson; "New Amsterdam" (8 p.m. Tuesdays), a drama produced and directed by Lasse Hallstrom about a New York police detective (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) who's been living in New York since it was a Dutch colony (meaning he's more than 360 years old); "Back to You" (8 p.m. Wednesdays), a comedy starring Grammer and Heaton as former colleagues reunited in Pittsburgh when Grammer's TV news career hits a bump; "Kitchen Nightmares" (9 p.m. Thursdays), a "reality" show starring "Hell's Kitchen" chef Gordon Ramsay in which he helps struggling restaurants turn things around (the original, also starring Ramsay, airs on BBC America); "The Search for the Next Great American Band" (8 p.m. Fridays), a group version of the "Idol" model, with audience voting; and "Nashville" (9 p.m. Fridays), a "docu-soap" focused on people trying to make it in the music business.

* New in midseason: "The Return of Jezebel James" (8:30 p.m. Wednesdays), a comedy from "Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino starring Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose as odd-couple sisters brought together by one's temporary need for the other's uterus; "Canterbury's Law" (9 p.m. Thursdays), a legal drama from "Rescue Me" producers Denis Leary and Jim Serpico, that stars Julianna Margulies as a rules-bending defense lawyer; "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (9 p.m. Sundays), an action-adventure series based on the character from the "Terminator" movies; and "The Rules for Starting Over," a so-far-unscheduled comedy from the Farrelly brothers ("There's Something About Mary"), about newly single friends looking for love.

* Coming back: "Prison Break," "24," "House," "American Idol," "Bones," "Cops," "America's Most Wanted," "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?"

* Outta here: "Drive" (last two episodes will air July 4), "The Winner," "Vanished," "The O.C.," "Happy Hour."

Adios, 'Veronica'

Did the devil make them do it? Or was it "Gossip Girl"? When the CW unveiled its 2007-08 schedule yesterday before the advertising community at Madison Square Garden, there were three new dramas, one new comedy and a couple of "reality series," but "Veronica Mars," girl detective, was not in evidence.

Did the devil make them do it? Or was it "Gossip Girl"? When the CW unveiled its 2007-08 schedule yesterday before the advertising community at Madison Square Garden, there were three new dramas, one new comedy and a couple of "reality series," but "Veronica Mars," girl detective, was not in evidence.

Neither was Veronica Mars, FBI agent, one pitch "Mars" creator Rob Thomas reportedly made to save the critically acclaimed-but-little-watched show.

In her 9 p.m. Tuesday time slot instead: "Reaper," a show from "Clerks" director Kevin Smith about a guy (Bret Harrison) who finds out on his 21st birthday that his parents sold his soul to the devil (Ray Wise) before he was born and now he's expected to become a sort of bounty hunter for Hell's escapees.

CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff, who a year ago was answering questions - not very satisfactorily - about the demise of "Everwood," wasn't much more forthcoming at a post-presentation press conference this year, insisting only that " 'Veronica Mars' is not coming back," and though she acknowledged that "we've been talking about something else" with Thomas, she wouldn't say if that something else involved the FBI.

"Mars" star Kristen Bell, meanwhile, will be narrating the CW's new drama "Gossip Girl," a series based on the best-selling young-adult novels that appears to be about upper East Side high-schoolers with fabulous wardrobes, just one possible reason it's been given the cushy 9 p.m. Wednesday spot behind "America's Next Top Model." A clip of the show, produced by "The O.C.'s" Josh Schwartz, included a fistfight at a party. That's how they did things on "The O.C."

* Other new CW series include: "Aliens in America" (8:30 p.m. Mondays), a comedy about an unpopular teen (Dan Byrd), whose mother (Amy Pietz) decides to import a friend for him by taking in an exchange student (Adhir Kalyan), who turns out to be a Muslim from Pakistan; "Online Nation" (7 p.m. Sundays), a sort of "America's Funniest Home Videos" for the YouTube generation; "CW Now" (7:30 p.m. Sundays), a infotainment series from the producers of "Extra" that Ostroff hinted might be to some extent advertiser-driven; "Life Is Wild" (8 p.m. Sundays), a drama about upper-middle-class New York family who move family to South Africa (shot on location, the show's regular cast appears to include only one non-white actor).

* New at midseason: "Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants," in which mother-daughter teams compete against one another; and "Farmer Wants a Wife," a "Bachelor" for the agrarian set.

* Coming back: "Everybody Hates Chris," "Girlfriends," "America's Next Top Model," "Beauty and the Geek," "Smallville," "Supernatural," "One Tree Hill" (midseason, and with all the characters four years older), "Pussycat Dolls Present" (midseason) and "Friday Night Smackdown."

* Outta here: "Veronica Mars," "All of Us," "Gilmore Girls" and "Runaway." *

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