Fox really hopes you like ”American Juniors,” the kiddie version of ”American Idol,” which premieres May 27; the network has already decided to bring it back for a second season in the fall, along with a variety of new comedies and dramas. Unlike ”Juniors,” some of the series are decidedly not kid-friendly, notably, ”Skin,” a ”Romeo and Juliet” romance between two young people whose respective dads are a porn mogul (Ron Silver) and an anti-smut district attorney. The network announces its fall schedule at today’s ”upfront” presentation for advertisers at the City Center auditorium in New York.
New comedies include ”A Minute with Stan Hooper,” starring ”Saturday Night Live” alum Norm Macdonald as a small-town TV commentator, and ”Arrested Development,” starring Jason Bateman as a guy who takes over the family business when his dad is arrested. Movie character actor Luis Guzman (last seen in ”Anger Management”) gets his own show, ”Luis,” where he plays a donut shop owner who’s the anchor of his neighborhood in Spanish Harlem. And ”The Ortegas,” based on a British hit, is about a family that broadcasts a talk show out of their home.
Besides ”Skin,” new dramas include ”Tru Calling,” starring ”Buffy”’s Eliza Dushku as a morgue worker who can travel back in time to stop murders, and ”The O.C.,” a soap starring Peter Gallagher and set in affluent Orange County, California. Both air in unenviable Thursday timeslots, against seemingly unbeatable NBC and CBS shows like ”Friends” and ”Survivor.”
Among the returning series are ”Joe Millionaire” (how are they going to pull that off again?), ”American Idol” (in January), ”Boston Public” (moving from Monday to Friday), 2003 rookies ”Wanda at Large” and ”Oliver Beene,” and, starting its 15th (!) season, ”The Simpsons.”