NEW YORK (AP) – Fox will kick off new series in June, August, November and January, but none during the traditional September start of a new TV season.

Meanwhile, UPN – the last of six broadcast networks to unveil new schedules to advertisers this week – will have a new drama in the fall with Taye Diggs portraying a lawyer who inherits a baby.

Fox’s unconventional announcement on Thursday shows how serious it is about a year-round scheduling strategy. The network says this reflects the way people follow television today, but it’s also done out of necessity: Fox series have gotten off to a terrible start the past two years because its schedule is pre-empted for baseball in October.

The network released three separate schedules – one for June, another for November and a third for January.

“This is not an overnight thing,” said Gail Berman, Fox entertainment president. “We have modest expectations about changing a 50-year history of the way television is done. It is going to require some patience on our part.”

On the viewers’ part, too.

Two of Fox’s most popular comedies – “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Malcolm in the Middle” – were given three different time slots. At least “Malcolm” stays on the same night.

One of Fox’s most critically acclaimed shows, “Arrested Development,” was renewed despite poor ratings.

Two of its most popular dramas will be packing bags: “The O.C.” moves to Thursday nights in November, and “24” will start its fourth year in January on Mondays.

Five new series will debut next month, the same time Fox’s rivals essentially shut down for reruns. Rap stars Method Man and Redman will star in a comedy, and Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie hit the road for the second season of “The Simple Life.”

In November, Fox will premiere “House,” described as a medical mystery series.

Three new reality series also will premiere in November, all of them familiar to fans of the genre. Mark Burnett, who is producing a boxing reality series for NBC, has grumbled about Fox nicking his idea with “The Next Great Champ,” which has Oscar De La Hoya trying to spy boxing talent.

Virgin founder Richard Branson joins Donald Trump and Mark Cuban as rich guys looking to give away money on TV and “The Partner” is reminiscent of “The Apprentice” in matching a team of Ivy Leaguers against street-smart lawyers for a job in a major firm.

The network also has a home renovation competition set for August.

Three dramas and three comedies will premiere in January, including a sketch comedy show inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in” with “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer.

“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane will also produce a new cartoon, “American Dad.” Next summer, he’ll start making new episodes of “Family Guy,” a cartoon Fox canceled then was stunned to see it become enormously popular on DVD.

Fox will also be trying to break a dubious streak: for the past few years, it has had at least one series announced in May that never made it on the air.

Other new Fox shows:

•”The Jury,” a courtroom drama produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, which debuts June 8.

•”North Shore,” a drama focusing on the 20-something employees at a luxury hotel in Hawaii, starts June 14.

•”Quintuplets,” starting June 16, stars Andy Richter as the father of 15-year-old quints.

•”The Casino,” a Burnett-produced series about the real-life dramas behind the scenes at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Premieres June 14.

•”Athens,” a drama from the creator of “The O.C.,” about the battles between rich outsiders and townies in a New England college town. It premieres in January.

•”The Inside,” about a high school student working as an undercover federal agent. Starts in January.

•”Jonny Zero,” starting in January, is about a New Yorker fresh out of prison torn between returning to his old life or joining the FBI.

•”Related By Family,” a January comedy about teenagers who work and hang out at the mall food court.

UPN has been on an upswing since CBS’ management team began overseeing it two years ago. With Tyra Banks and “America’s Top Model,” it has a genuine hit that reaches its target audience of 18-to-34-year-olds, particularly women.

“We’ve turned an important corner,” said UPN chief Dawn Ostroff.

“Model” will shift from Tuesday to Wednesday night in the fall, with a weekly rerun airing on Fridays. UPN has renewed “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a franchise thought to be on the edge for cancellation, but moved it to Fridays.

The network is banking on “Kevin Hill,” which features Diggs as a hotshot New York lawyer whose life changes when his cousin dies and leaves him with his 6-month-old daughter.

Another new drama about a teenage girl in a class-conscious town, “Veronica Mars,” looks much like a signature series on the WB, the youth-obsessed network that is UPN’s main rival.

With “The Parkers” retiring, UPN is adding “Second Time Around,” about a couple getting married for the second time, to its Monday lineup of comedies with largely black casts.

AP-ES-05-20-04 1753EDT



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