07/18/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
What do Simon Cowell, Jennifer Garner, Evan Marriott, Glenn Close, Jerry Lewis, Michael Moore and the late Robert Stack have in common? All will make animated appearances on the 15th season of FOX's "The Simpsons" this fall, the network announced at this week's presentation to TV critics at their annual summer tour in Hollywood.
Cowell and company will join previously announced British "Simpsons" guests Tony Blair, J.K. Rowling and Ian McKellen.
Continuing in this all-star vein, FOX also has cast Kelly Clarkson, Brad Pitt, Ben Stiller, Christina Applegate and Melissa Etheridge to deliver voices on "King of the Hill."
But what FOX will play down, reports Reuters, is a programming emphasis on reality shows. True, the network is the home of "Joe Millionaire," "Paradise Hotel" and "Temptation Island," but as FOX TV chairman Sandy Grushow said Thursday, networks should use the summer for original programming rather than repeats.
Asked about his own network's reality shows, he replied: "I think there is a limit to how many of them we can do. ... As an industry we've got to be moving to strike a better balance in the summer between scripted and unscripted programming," he said.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Grushow talked up "The O.C.," a new drama from "Charlie's Angels" director McG dealing with the lives of teens and their families in a privileged, beach community in southern California's Orange County.
The show will have an early premiere in August, then be pre-empted during October (for pro baseball playoffs) before returning in November.