Going to the well to sign fan-favorite producers, Fox yesterday announced that four of its six new series for the 2008-09 TV season will come from the beloved creators of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As in recent years, because of the fall roadblock of the World Series and the American Idol winter ratings magnet, Fox will introduce its new shows in dribs and drabs.
In late summer, there's more aeronautic mystery from money machine J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), whose new show, Fringe, starts with an entire airliner full of corpses. Buffy's Joss Whedon arrives in winter with Eliza Dushku, Buffy's former frenemy Faith, at the head of fantasy show Dollhouse, so complex it's sure to burnish his cult hero status.
Spring is cartoon time. Producer Seth McFarlane introduces a spin-off in which Family Guy neighbor Cleveland Brown joins his high school sweetheart in Stoolbend, Va., where a family of bears are only some of the raunchy residents. And Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz helms animation about the staff at a fishing village high school that you pray is totally unlike the one you or your kids attend.
Fox also introduces a sitcom starring Jerry O'Connell in late summer, and a reality show, in which real millionaires deal out dough in impoverished neighborhoods, in winter.
Most Fox shows, including Prison Break, House, Bones, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, as well as the network's reality and cartoon lineup, will return throughout the season. But, as previously reported, two relative ratings successes, New Amsterdam and Back to You, have been canceled.
Idol and 24 (finally back after a year in writers strike limbo) will anchor the winter and spring schedules.
New fall and winter shows:
Fringe. Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson is one of a group trying to unravel the larger, more awful story of why a whole planeload of dead folks wound up at Boston's Logan airport. It's Lost meets Without a Trace meets a show where the smartest man in the world has been in an asylum for 20 years.
Do Not Disturb. O'Connell and Reno 911's Niecy Nash are part of the team running the Inn, one of New York's hippest hotels.
Dollhouse. Only Whedon could dream this up. An illegal, underground squad of operatives have their personalities erased, taking on new lives for each assignment, ranging from criminal to charitable. But lingering memories spur Dushku to try to discover her true identity.
Secret Millionaire. Real rich folk go undercover to hang with the riffraff and decide who is worthy of their largesse.
New shows in bold.
7 The OT (NFL postgame)
8 The Simpsons
8:30 King of the Hill
9 Family Guy
9:30 American Dad
8 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
10 Prison Break
9 'Til Death
9:30 Do Not Disturb
8 The Moment of Truth
9 Kitchen Nightmares
8 Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
9 Don't Forget the Lyrics!
9 America's Most Wanted: America Fights BackEndText