HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - In the past few years, Fox Broadcasting Co. has made a habit of announcing one fall series in May that somehow doesn't end up on the air come September. This year, the network has decided to do just the opposite.
Fox execs have opted to add one more fall series to their crop of five freshman by launching ''Love Cruise: The Maiden Voyage'' in mid-September. The reality series had been slated to debut in early August.
According to insiders, the network could announce as early as Thursday a plan to run ''Love Cruise'' in the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot for several weeks in September and October. The idea is to launch Fox's much buzzed-about new drama ''24'' in the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot after the network finishes its coverage of post-season baseball.
''Love Cruise,'' from ''Real World'' creators Bunim-Murray Prods., would bow Tuesday, Sept. 11, and run though mid-to-late October. Fox is also planning to double-pump original episodes of ''Love Cruise'' for two weeks, adding another episode of the show Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26.
Because of baseball, Fox in past years has had to delay some of its best programs until late October or even November -- a fact which has contributed to the network often getting off to a slow start in the fall.
Scheduling ''Love Cruise'' could give Fox some momentum in the early part of the season, while also allowing ''24'' a chance to run without any baseball pre-emptions. The serial nature of the drama had Fox execs worried about launching ''24'' and then taking it off the air for a couple weeks for baseball.