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Fox Plans Affair in Spring

A Current Affair could return to first-run television as early as April or May, said Bob Cook, president of syndicator Twentieth Television.

The show would get a limited run on Fox stations for tweaking purposes.

Twentieth last month announced plans to bring back the veteran access mag.

It will be executive produced by Peter Brennan, who created the show in 1986 at the request of News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch. Brennan left a few years later, the show’s ratings fell in the early 1990s, and it was cancelled in 1996.

Fox decided to bring it back, with the support of Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, who oversees Twentieth Television.

Cook wants to get it on the air ASAP so that he can tweak the program and build up an audience before September, when most new shows will launch, and before summer, when many viewers are on vacation or outdoors, and away from their television sets.

"We want to take advantage of the springtime—when we’re still looking at decent HUT [homes using television] levels," says Cook.

The test will be a limited rollout on some of the co-owned Fox stations.

Fox is still looking for a host. "It’s going to be somebody who has a news and story background, who understands what a story is and can tell it with some passion," says Brennan.

One obvious in-house choice: Bill O’Reilly, who tops the Fox News Channel’s popular O’Reilly Factor. He is a former station and network newsman who has also hosted an access mag, Inside Edition. One Fox insider says O’Reilly’s plate is likely too full to take on anything else.