This coming in from Josef Adalian at Vulture, Fox Sports will be taking over Saturday primetime as the main network cuts back on its order of the long-running series, Cops. Saturday nights had been known as a law enforcement night with Cops filling the 8 p.m. ET hour and America’s Most Wanted at 9 p.m. But starting last season, Fox for all essential purposes canceled AMW, allowing it to go to Lifetime where it’s doing well on Friday nights.
Now, Adalian reports that Fox Sports will occupy Saturday primetime from April 14 through December 8 with a four week break interspersed. If you’re counting, that’s 28 out of 32 weeks that will be filled with sports programming. The timeslots will be filled with NASCAR, MLB and college football (Big 12/Pac-12).
And for the entire year, it means that only nine weeks will have non-sports programming for Fox. Cops could return with new shows in the first quarter of 2013, but its future on the network beyond that is uncertain.
This follows ABC’s use of Saturday primetime for college football. CBS has also used Saturday nights for primetime for the NCAA Tournament, the U.S. Open and SEC football.
However, this is the first real commitment from a network handing over the bulk of its year-long primetime schedule to sports. Fox will not compete with the London Olympics in late July/early August and after December 8 following college football, the network will most likely fill the holes with repeats and holiday specials.
We’ll see if the sports strategy continues in 2013.