"Roc" is going live. And Fox is going to seven nights and a virtual year-round schedule of prime-time shows geared to young viewers.
Fox Broadcasting yesterday announced a fall schedule that includes 11 new programs and is easily the most daring of any broadcast network's. For example, not only did Fox renew the lowly rated "Roc" -- a sitcom about a Baltimore sanitation worker -- but announced that "Roc" will be broadcast live each week next season. It will be the first prime-time series to be broadcast live on a regular basis since the 1950s. Furthermore, like many Fox series, the new season for "Roc" will start in early August instead of the traditional third week of September.
The fourth network's aggressive programming plan for the summer was one of the most impressive aspects of the new schedule. "Melrose Place," a new ensemble drama targeted at the twentysomething generation, will debut July 8 following a new episode of "The Simpsons." For the next six weeks of summer, "Melrose Place" will be preceded by new episodes of "Beverly Hills, 90210," the hottest show on TV. Both "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills, 90210," are from producer Aaron Spelling.
Fox has yet another Spelling show on this schedule. "The Heights" is a drama about the hopes and dreams of the working-class members of a fledgling rock band. "The Heights" will move into its regular time slot at 8 Wednesday nights, leading into "Melrose Place," starting in the fall.
All in all, it is a schedule that gives new meaning to the notion of youth-oriented. The new comedies are:
* "Martin": starring stand-up comic Martin Lawrence as host of a talk radio show in Detroit.
* "Flying Blind": featuring Corey Parker as a recent college graduate living at home.
* "Woops!": literally a post-modern sitcom about survivors of a nuclear accident.
* "Great Scott": starring Tobey Maguire as a 15-year-old Walter Mitty.
* "The Ben Stiller Show": comedian Ben Stiller and friends in sketch and parodies.
* "The Edge": a half-hour of sketch comedy.
In addition to "Melrose Place" and "The Edge," the other new dramas are:
* "Likely Suspects": a detective drama in which the viewer helps solve the crime.
* "Class of '96": college freshmen having their first taste of life away from home.
* "Key West": starring Fisher Stevens as an aspiring writer who wins the lottery, quits his factory job and moves to Key West.
Cancellations include "Get a Life," "Totally Hidden Video," "Drexell's Class" with Dabney Coleman and "True Colors," a sitcom fictionally set in Baltimore. "Parker Lewis" was also pulled from the schedule, but will remain in production as a backup series.