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Fox Prays for Reign Of Sox/Yankees

As baseball fans in New York and Boston prepare for what could be an epic three-game battle over playoff positioning this weekend at Fenway Park, Fox will be watching eagerly in anticipation of finding out who will be taking up much of its primetime lineup in coming weeks.

While the dream scenario ratings-wise for the network is for the Yankees and Red Sox to end up with the two still-available American League playoff spots, the chance that the smaller-market Cleveland Indians sneak into the playoffs this weekend is the ratings nightmare Fox execs won’t talk about out loud.

The 800-pound gorilla in Fox’s fall schedule that is the baseball playoffs comes during a season in which the network has found some early success with new shows such as Prison Break and The War at Home.

The smart jailhouse drama has already been picked up for a back nine episodes, while the Michael Rapaport comedy has done enough to warrant consideration for an extension after the other war at home (as in plate) is done.

Earlier in the week, Fox also added nine more installments of American Dad, while NBC said it will bump up its order of Steve Carrell’s sophomore sitcom, The Office, from six episodes to 13, though that show has failed to make much inroads against Fox's House.