Fox Lineup Is Well Situated For Baseball Hiatus

Fox, which will effectively go on a one-month, prime-time entertainment-programming hiatus beginning this week with the start of its postseason Major League Baseball telecasts, is up low double-digit percentages in its ratings and viewers compared to last season.

And while the network’s strategy of introducing all its new shows beginning in August has not yielded any breakout hits, Fox has a few that are doing well enough to stay around for the season and offer productive enough ratings to help the network repeat as 18-49 ratings champ.

Through the first 10 days of the new season, Fox was fourth among the broadcast nets in the 18-49 demo, same position as last year at that point, but was averaging a 3.2/9 rating and share, up 10 percent and one share point over last season. And the network is averaging 1 million more viewers per night, up 14 percent over last year.

“We’re playing a different game than the other networks,” said Preston Beckman, evp of program planning and strategy for Fox. “We knew that when the other networks began premiering their shows, we would slip a bit. But our rhythm and purpose is different.”

John Rash, chief broadcast negotiator at Campbell Mithun, said Fox would have to reintroduce all of its shows in November to try to re-engage viewers, but it would have an advantage through the remainder of the fourth quarter in having more first-run episodes to air. “Fox will also be able to sit back and look at their competitors schedules to see what shows are working or not working, and perhaps adjust their own schedule to take advantage in some places,” Rash said. —John Consoli