Fox plots a balancing act

Pasadena - Fox executives met the TV critics in Los Angeles on Tuesday, vowing to keep reality shows on the air, but to also keep them in balance with traditional comedies and dramas.

Fox Chairman Sandy Grushow also confirmed plans to re-purpose a pair of new series, including critical favorite 24, on co-owned FX during the upcoming season. He also said the network may also give affiliates extra runs of 24 at the outset of the season to allow viewers a second chance to watch the CIA series that is set over a 24-hour time period.

On the reality front, Fox executives said they had an easier time selling Temptation Island 2 and that newcomer Love Cruise has also had success with advertisers. "Lets face it, no network can compete in today's marketplace without it," Grushow said referring to reality programs. "Audiences have proved time and again that they have enormous appetite for it and even advertisers who were once resistant have begun to embrace a significant percentage of it." Grushow added, "In the long-run, networks that use un-scripted programming to mask their inability to create new scripted hits, they're going to fail. We know it happened to Fox."

FX executives are not commenting, but Grushow says deals are "all but in place" for both 24 and midseason series Nathan's Choice to air on FX within a week of their original dates on Fox. Both show's will likely air on FX during the 10 p.m. ET/PT time period. Nathan's Choice is a comedy that allows the audience to choose how each episode will end. FX will air the episode with the alternate ending.

Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman announced that the network has signed X-Files producer/creator Chris Carter to stay on for another season, keeping the show on through the 2002-2003 season. Carter will serve as the show's executive producer/showrunner alongside his team of producers Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban. Also former Star Trek: Voyager star Jeri Ryan is joining the cast of Fox drama Boston Public.
- Joe Schlosser