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Fox Sets Fall Schedule, Playing It Safe

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Beth Dubber/FOX

A scene from Fox's new Ben and Kate.

Back in the day, when Bart Simpson was not yet a twentysomething, Fox was known as the rebel network—the break-the-rules, take-some-chances, rattle-some-cages network. It was the relatively new broadcaster, anything it could do to stand out was worth it, whether in the shows it aired or the way it scheduled them. It experimented with year-round scheduling, held fall premieres until November and debuted The O.C. (and American Idol) in the dead of summer.

Now that Fox is older, established, and either the number one network or close to it depending what measure you use to total up the ratings, it’s happier to keep things more or less the way they are. Which means that while NBC has introduced a ton of new shows for 2012–13 and is trying an ambitious program to premiere them starting with the Olympics and through fall, Fox is adding only a few shows, and scheduling them much like CBS. Most of its shows will debut in the traditional premiere weeks of late September, or just after. (The X Factor and Glee will start off early, Sept. 12 and 13 respectively.) The exception, Touch and Fringe, will debut as a block with Fringe Oct. 26. [Update: I misread the Fox calendar, which lists Fringe twice—once for each parallel universe? Fringe itself premieres on Sept. 28, as the calendar below indicates.]

And as we’ve discussed earlier, Fox’s fall programming itself follows a very safe, CBS-like strategy, picking just a few shows to premiere, on the mold of their existing hits. (Thus The Mindy Project is a female-driven, single-camera star vehicle to pair with New Girl, and Ben and Kate, above, is a quirky-family sitcom to lead out of Raising Hope.)

And that’s more or less it. For big TV networks, this is what the dream looks like: very, very, quiet. The schedule follows:

Fall premieres of new and returning series are listed below in chronological order (all times are ET/PT):

Wednesday, Sept. 12
8:00-10:00 PM                        THE X FACTOR (Season Premiere, Part One)

Thursday, Sept. 13
8:00-9:00 PM                          THE X FACTOR (Season Premiere, Part Two)
9:00-10:00 PM                        GLEE (Season Premiere)

Monday, Sept. 17
8:00-9:00 PM                          BONES (Season Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM                        THE MOB DOCTOR (Series Premiere)

Tuesday, Sept. 25
8:00-8:30 PM                          NEW GIRL (Special All-New Episode)
8:30-9:00 PM                          BEN AND KATE (Series Premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM                          NEW GIRL (Season Premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM                        THE MINDY PROJECT (Series Premiere)

Friday, Sept. 28
8:00-9:00 PM                          KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (All-New Episode)
9:00-10:00 PM                        FRINGE (Season Premiere)

Sunday, Sept. 30
8:00-8:30 PM                          THE SIMPSONS (Season Premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM                          BOB’S BURGERS (Season Premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM                          FAMILY GUY (Season Premiere)
9:30-10:00 PM                        AMERICAN DAD (Season Premiere)

Tuesday, Oct. 2
8:00-8:30 PM                          RAISING HOPE (Season Premiere)
8:30-9:00 PM                          BEN AND KATE
9:00-9:30 PM                          NEW GIRL
9:30-10:00 PM                        THE MINDY PROJECT

Sunday, Oct. 7
7:30-8:00 PM                          THE CLEVELAND SHOW (Season Premiere)
8:00-8:30 PM                          THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM                          BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM                          FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM                        AMERICAN DAD

Friday, Oct. 26
8:00-9:00 PM                          TOUCH (Season Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM                        FRINGE

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