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Fox pushes back the "Mac'

There was no premiere for The Bernie Mac Show on Sunday, when the bulk of Fox's Sunday offerings premiered. In Mac's regularly scheduled 8:30 p.m. slot, Fox showed the 300th episode of The Simpsons, which first aired last season.

For the duration of sweeps, Fox will schedule hourlong blocks of its animated offerings, beginning with a King of the Hill repeat at 7 p.m., followed by a new episode at 7:30. A new episode of The Simpsons will show at 8 p.m. followed by a rerun. Fox will continue to show new episodes of Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development during the 9 p.m. hour.

On Sunday, in the first night of the back-to-back Simpsons plan, the ratings for the new episode and the repeat were nearly identical. While 15.7-million viewers tuned in for the show's annual Halloween anthology, more than 15-million stuck around for the rerun.

The Bernie Mac Show is set to premiere Nov. 30.

NBC pulls plug on

freshman dud Coupling

LOS ANGELES _ It's back to the Thursday night drawing board for NBC. Coupling failed to click with audiences and after only four airings, NBC has pulled the plug on the freshman comedy. It had already been lifted for November sweeps, but production on the show was ongoing. However, with 10 episodes in the can, production has now been halted and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, it is not expected to begin again.

Sharpton to host

"Saturday Night Live'

The Rev. Al Sharpton's chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination may seem slim. But the producers of Saturday Night Live believe his many oneliners at debates have already made him the undisputed king of campaign comedy.

So the producers have named Sharpton as the host of the Dec. 6 episode of Saturday Night Live, in what will be the show's first major foray into this political season.

Lorne Michaels, the show's creator and executive producer, said during an interview Monday that Sharpton was the only candidate he had so far considered having on the program.

"He is, to say the least, theatrical," Michaels said.

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