Pasadena, Calif. -- Fox Family Channel, still seeking the
right formula as a contemporary family-entertainment outlet, has new series with Danny
Glover and Seinfeld's Jason Alexander in the works, as well as a development
slate of 10 original scripted shows.
At the Television Critics Association tour here recently,
Fox Family said it would launch a "Live and Interactive" programming initiative
designed to let viewers affect the outcome of programming in real time, via live remote
cameras in homes and at public locations and through online messages and phone calls.
One of the first Live and Interactive shows will be
Alexander's Liquid Soap,a daily, live primetime spoof of soap operas
that's slated to debut in early July. The series will be half-scripted and
half-improvised, with viewers determining the show's story line through the phone and
"Liquid Soap is a soap-opera spoof in the vein
of -- kind of inspired by -- Carol Burnett's sketch, 'As the Stomach
Turns,'" Alexander said during Fox Family's panel. "The audience is
completely in control of where this show goes from night to night and week to week."
The other interactive series Fox Family has slated is Paranoia,
a game show that will premiere in April. The single in-studio contestant competes against
players around the country.
"We've got Paranoia cameras mounted all
over the country," Fox Family executive vice president of programming and development
Rob Sorcher said. "We'll satellite in those pictures, and each of those squares
will represent a person."
Fox Family also signed a deal with actor Danny Glover for
the series Courage, which he will host and executive-produce. Courage,a
weekly hour-long primetime show, will celebrate and profile real people who have
demonstrated bravery in moments of crisis.
"We kind of redefine the whole idea of courage,"
Glover said at Fox Family's session. "If we define it from the standpoint of
looking at ordinary people who do extraordinary things that have some impact and change
not only their lives, but change the community -- those are the kinds of things we want to
highlight in terms of the show."
At the TCA tour, Fox Family, which is owned by News Corp.
and Saban Entertainment, also unveiled its development slate of scripted series for
Some of the projects in development are: State of Grace,
about a 40-year-old journalist who goes back to her family in North Carolina; Get
Wright in the Morning, about a professional ethicist and radio talk-show host; Band
on the Run, a hip Partridge Family for today's times; and Lincoln Park,
a look at two families from the perspective of their household pets.
"One of my main objectives has been to bring Fox
Family into the original scripted-series arena with adult-targeted programming,"
Fox Family's first scripted series -- Higher Ground,with Joe Lando -- premiered Jan. 14. Fox Family has acquired an off-network series, My
So Called Life, as a lead-in to Higher Ground. My So Called Life debuted
FX, also owned by News Corp., did a TCA presentation, as
well, highlighting its effort to ramp up original programming.
FX has three new shows, all set to debut in March: Son
of the Beach,a scripted comedy that spoofs Baywatch,from Howard
Stern's production company; The Girl Next Door,a game show; and The
New Movie Show with Chris Gore,which offers hip, irreverent reviews of films.
"Currently, we have six hours [per week] of original
programming on the air," FX president Peter Liguori said. "Our goal, our hope,
is to be able to put 10 hours of original programming on."
Liguori deemed past FX original programming such as The
X Show and Toughman as successes. But he had less kind words for past efforts,
including Bobcat's Big Ass Show.
"When you look at Bobcat's show, I think,
admittedly, Bobcat was just a big-ass show," Liguori said, sparking laughter
in the audience. "It was something that we quickly took off the air."
FX is retooling its original animated series, The Dick
and Paula Celebrity Special,according to Liguori.
"Dick and Paula was critically very
well-received," he said. "We're going to give it another whirl. We feel it
[has] quality. We're going to make some adjustments." The half-hour weekly
series returns in March with seven new episodes.