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Fox announces winter premiere dates, hopes ‘The Following’ can knock out ‘The Voice’

Ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is called out of retirement to track down a devious and diabolical serial killer. (FOX)

Fox hopes to take down NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” in the first quarter, when it premieres its highly anticipated Kevin Bacon thriller “The Following” on Jan. 21.

And when we say “highly anticipated,” Ad Age reports Madison Avenue is so excited about this show — in which Bacon plays an ex FBI agent who is un-ex-ed to help re-search for the serial killer he captured years ago, who has slipped his collar and is at large again — they happily forked over around $200,000 per 30 seconds worth of ad time on the show — making it the most expensive new series this season.

In advance of “The Following” unveiling, Fox will debut “American Idol: Nicki Minaj” on Jan 16 and 17. Expect those first two debut episodes to be jam packed with “The Following” ads, Kevin Bacon sightings, trailers, blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, Kiefer Sutherland’s “Touch,” which was supposed to have debuted this coming Friday — as part of the network’s November sweep programming push — will instead debut Friday, Feb. 1, and be part of the network’s February sweep programming push.

This season, Kiefer’s single dad Martin “If Only I’d Paid Attention in Math Class” Bohm, and his numbers genius son Jake have moved from New York to Los Angeles where they find themselves at the center of a global conspiracy involving a mother who’s in search of her teenage daughter, who is also a mathematical genius, like Jake. Also figuring in to the equation — this religious zealot who has decided it is his calling to assassinate mathematical geniuses.

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