AP Television Writer
Some highlights of Fox's moves in its schedule for next season, released on Monday.
WHAT'S NEW: Jack is back! A signature character from Fox's history, Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer returns with "24," at least for a little while. Fox is launching a series of high-profile miniseries, and the first will come next May with a 12-episode run of "24," which went off the air in 2010. The second such series, "Wayward Pines," will be a thriller produced by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Matt Dillon, based on the novel "Pines."
WHAT'S GONE: Randy Jackson, for one. The last of the original "American Idol" judges is leaving with the franchise in a ratings free-fall. Fox was keeping mum on the issue Monday, but Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban may want to avoid long-term leases. Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly said the show will likely revert to a three-judge panel. He blamed format issues more than the judges for this year's ratings problems.
STAR POWER: Seth MacFarlane. J.J. Abrams. M. Night Shyamalan. They may not generate celebrity magazine covers (although MacFarlane did host the Oscars this year), but they are the type of brand-name creative forces that Fox's young audience respects. They all have projects coming up on Fox during the next year.
NEW HOUSE: Hugh Laurie and the irascible doctor he played on "House" are gone. What to do? Hire Greg Kinnear to play a similar character, only this time a lawyer. That's the new series "Rake." Hey, it worked once.
WHAT THEY NEED: If "American Idol" is never going to be the dominant force it once was -- and that would be asking an awful lot -- Fox needs another show that can be attractive to all audiences. Let's face it. Even if "The Following" was Fox's most popular newcomer this year, a show about a serial killer is never going to fill that bill.
BIG MOVE: Fox's Saturday nights of fugitives, drunks and losers is gone as the network turns its lineup over entirely to sports. The long-running series "Cops" is switching to Spike.
QUOTE: "I'd like to strike the word 'midseason' from our lexicon, truly, because it makes it seem like there are only two times of the year when you can launch shows." -- Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly. Fox is moving more aggressively than any other broadcast network in memory to break free of the traditional idea of TV seasons by keeping fresh material on the air all year long. That may be felt most next summer when there's something else new on besides reality shows.
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