Atlanta -- Fox Family Channel filled in more of the blanks
in its new primetime schedule last week, reaching a programming deal with National
Lampoon and creating a new show featuring Mr. Bill of Saturday Night Live fame.
Under the agreement with Lampoon owner J2
Communications, Fox Family has the option to produce original series, specials and other
materials in conjunction with the National Lampoon brand. The first projects under
the alliance will be two made-for-TV movies, National Lampoon's Men in White
and National Lampoon's Golf Punks, which could evolve into primetime series.
Those two films will be the first productions done as part
of a $125 million slate of original movies that Fox Family has in the works for primetime
when the network relaunches Aug. 15. Fox Family -- under the ownership of News Corp. and
Saban Entertainment, via Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. -- will be airing kids' programming
during the day and family-oriented shows at night.
"National Lampoon represents an ideal fun and
family-friendly brand for our newly targeted primetime audience," Haim Saban,
chairman and CEO of Fox Kids, said in a prepared statement.
Saban, who attended the National Show in Atlanta last week,
wasn't available for comment.
Men in White is a parody of blockbuster hit Men in
Black, while Golf Punks is the story of a hapless ex-golfer struggling to teach
the sport to a group of kids.
Fox Family also unveiled plans for a first-run series. Saturday
Night Live Play-Doh star Mr. Bill will star in and host Mr. Bill Presents. Mr.
Bill will present sketch comedy from around the United States and the world.
"Mr. Bill is an icon, and he has real crossover appeal
for kids and adults -- particularly our target audience, 18 to 49," Eytan Keller,
senior vice president of reality programming and specials for Fox Family, said in a
Fox Family also has two specials in the works: Spice
Girls in Concert -- Wild!, a recorded live concert by the group; and Leo Mania,
a one-hour documentary on Leonardo DiCaprio.
After its relaunch, Fox Family will air six half-hour
strips weeknights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and nightly movies from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Under its new ownership, The Family Channel is dedicating
$125 million to produce 26 original primetime movies for the network. Fox Family will air
its original movies twice a month, Sunday nights from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to
In anticipation of its coming relaunch, Fox Family also
unveiled a new logo and look that are meant to reflect the personality and new brand of
programming that it will introduce this summer.
Fox Family's marketing department worked with
graphic-design agency Pittard Sullivan to create the logo, with "Fox Family"
captured in an angular perspective, surrounded by an elliptical swirl and supported by the
"Channel" descriptor underneath.
"Our goal is to re-energize the network with a new
look and logo that capitalize on the equity of two of the most trusted media brands, Fox
and The Family Channel," Fox Family senior vice president of marketing Tom Lucas said
in a prepared statement.