01/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Idol" Looms As An Optimistic Fox Trails In Ratings

At the end of calendar year 2008 the Fox network finds itself, as usual, trailing all its competitors in ratings. In other words, it once again has them exactly where it wants them.

Fox executives are accustomed to late-innings lightning. But this year they are even more confident, thanks to the return of the network's thousand-pound ratings gorilla, "American Idol," along with what looks like a more potent supporting lineup.

The once formidable action drama "24" will be back after a year off the air (because of the Hollywood writers' strike), and a new drama called "Lie to Me" will arrive accompanied by whispers that it has the potential to be a breakout hit.

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