Originally created 05/16/03

Fox brings back "Joe Millionaire," junior version of "American Idol"



NEW YORK -- Fox will bring back a new "Joe Millionaire" next season and start a junior version of "American Idol" as well as a new drama about the porn industry.

The network is introducing three new dramas and four new comedies in the hope that this fall will be better than the last one.

Meanwhile, faced with the end of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," UPN presented a new schedule that adds a night of comedies on Tuesdays, including one developed by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Fox had a disastrous start to the current TV season but revived this winter behind the surprise success of "Joe Millionaire" and return of "American Idol." Fox is neck and neck with ABC for third place in the ratings, but is a strong second to NBC among the 18-to-49-year-old age group.

Beyond saying the butler will be back, Fox executives would reveal little about a second season of "Joe Millionaire." It leaves open the question of whether women can be fooled a second time into dating an average guy they think is rich. The show will compete with NBC's "Fear Factor" on Mondays at 8 p.m.

"American Juniors," spotlighting talented children, will run until "American Idol" is back in January. But don't expect Simon Cowell, or any other sharp-tongued judge.

"This is not a show where we are going to be ripping children apart," said Gail Berman, Fox entertainment president.

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" producer Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the busiest creators on television, is behind the new Monday drama, "Skin." It focuses on two Los Angeles families - one led by the district attorney and another that makes its money on pornography.

Despite the title, Berman said not to expect too much skin.

"We're a broadcast network, we know that," she said. "We're not going to have the show live in that world. This show will live in the world that I feel very comfortable with, which is character, character, character."

Fox will try two new strategies on Thursdays and Fridays, two nights that are perennial trouble spots for the network.

On Thursdays, Fox will air two new teen-oriented dramas. "Tru Calling" features a young woman with the "Groundhog Day"-like ability to relive a day. "The O.C.," which stands for Orange County, has a poor youngster suddenly thrust into a wealthy home. "The O.C." will debut early this summer.

Fox moves "Boston Public" and "Wanda at Large" to Fridays, and introduces "Luis," a comedy with Luis Guzman as a doughnut shop owner in Spanish Harlem.

The increasingly popular drama starring Keifer Sutherland, "24," returns for a third season.

Fox has canceled "Firefly," "Fastlane," "John Doe" and "Andy Richter Controls the Universe."

The mini-network UPN, which faces constant questions about its survival, has seen poor ratings this year and is usually behind its rival, the WB. This was its first new schedule developed by the CBS management team, including Leslie Moonves, and new entertainment President Dawn Ostroff.

UPN's Monday night of black-oriented comedies feature a new one, "Opposite Sex," starring rapper Eve. Monday's most popular UPN comedy, "One on One, moves to Tuesday and will be joined by "All of Us," a show about dealing with divorce and remarriage loosely based on the Smiths' life.

Although the exit of "Buffy" costs UPN its highest-profile scripted show, Moonves noted it had been slipping in the ratings.

"We anticipate doing just as well, if not better, and certainly economically better, with Tuesdays," Moonves said.

Another new comedy, "The Mullets," drew laughs from an audience of advertisers with the name alone. It brings Loni Anderson back to television as the mom to two brothers in the roofing business.

"Think 'Dumb and Dumber,"' Ostroff said. "Only dumber."

Fox's other new series:

-"Arrested Development," a comedy about a rich family that heads to the poorhouse when the father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is arrested for illegal accounting practices.

-"A Minute with Stan Hooper," stars comic Norm MacDonald as a newsmagazine reporter who moves to a small town in Wisconsin.

-"The Ortegas," based on a hit British series, is an improvisational show about a young man whose parents build him a television studio in the back yard for his own talk show.

UPN's other new series:

-"Rock Me Baby," a comedy with Dan Cortese as a shock jock who must quickly grow up when he and his wife have a baby.

-"Jake 2.0," a drama about a computer nerd transformed into a secret agent when the National Security Agency implants him with technology that gives him superhuman powers.

Fox's prime-time schedule for the fall, announced by the network Thursday:

Monday

8 p.m. - "Joe Millionaire"

9 p.m. - "Skin"

Tuesday

8 p.m. - "American Juniors"

9 p.m. - "24"

Wednesday

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

8:30 p.m. - "A Minute with Stan Hooper"

9 p.m. - "Bernie Mac"

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

Thursday

8 p.m. - "Tru Calling"

9 p.m. - "The O.C."

Friday

8 p.m. - "Wanda at Large"

8:30 p.m. - "Luis"

9 p.m. - "Boston Public"

Saturday

8 p.m. - "COPS"

8:30 p.m. - "COPS"

9 p.m. - "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back"

Sunday

7 p.m. - "Oliver Beene"

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

8 p.m. - "The Simpsons"

8:30 p.m. - "The Ortegas"

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

9:30 p.m. - "Arrested Development"

UPN's prime-time schedule for the fall, also announced by the network on Thursday:

Monday

8 p.m. - "The Parkers"

8:30 p.m. - "Opposite Sex"

9 p.m. - "Girlfriends"

9:30 p.m. - "Half and Half"

Tuesday

8 p.m. - "One on One"

8:30 p.m. - "All of Us"

9 p.m. - "Rock Me Baby"

9:30 p.m. - "The Mullets"

Wednesday

8 p.m. - "Enterprise"

9 p.m. - "Jake 2.0"

Thursday

8 p.m. - "WWE Smackdown!"

Friday

8 p.m. - "UPN Movie"