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Fox gives 'Nashville' an early hiatus, series to return at a "later date"


By Christopher Rocchio, 09/26/2007 

After a couple of weeks of unsurprisingly poorly-rated Friday night broadcasts, Fox has decided to put Nashville on hiatus two weeks earlier than the network had originally intended.

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While Fox says it plans to bring its new Laguna Beach-like docu-reality series back at "a later date," it apparently won't -- unless the network decides to relocate the show to another night -- occur until at least November. 

Nashville's Fridays at 9PM ET/PT time period will be filled with encore broadcasts of K-Ville, Fox's already-struggling new Monday night drama, on both September 28 and October 5.  Fox will then broadcast coverage of Major League Baseball's 2007 playoffs on October 12, which was when the network had previously planned to begin Nashville's hiatus.

As Fox had previously announced, The Next Great American Band, the network's new American Idol-like reality competition series that will search for the country's best up-and-coming musical group, will premiere with a special two-hour episode on Friday, October 19 at 8PM ET/PT.  However rather than following through with its original schedule that would end Nashville's hiatus the following Friday, Fox now plans to air another two-hour installment of The Next Great American Band on October 26.

When reached by Reality TV World on Wednesday, a Fox spokesperson said they could not confirm when Nashville will return, however according to a TV Week report published Tuesday evening, the show will return on Friday, November 9 -- a move that given the young-skewing program was always a longshot to succeed on Fridays (a night in which many younger viewers do not watch television), would appear to be based on a belief that American Band will be able to draw younger viewers to Fox's Friday night programming.

Back in May, Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori gushed that Nashville presented "a big opportunity" to attract younger viewers back to Friday night television, however the show's September 14 premiere broadcast finished in last place in its 9PM ET/PT time period and averaged only 2.72 million overall viewers.  Last Friday's second Nashville broadcast averaged only 2.2 million overall viewers.

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, which served as Nashville's 8PM ET/PT lead-in during its two Friday night broadcasts, averaged 4.9 million overall viewers during its September 14 and 21 broadcasts.

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