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Fox announces midseason schedule and moves 'American Idol' to Wednesdays and Thursdays

November 19, 2010 |  6:08 pm

  JudgesR

So much for "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Sensing an opening on Thursday nights now that CBS' reality hit "Survivor" has moved off that night, Fox is moving "American Idol" from Tuesday and Wednesday nights to Wednesday and Thursday nights when the talent show returns Jan. 19.

The shift of "American Idol" is just one of several moves Fox disclosed as part of its midseason programming strategy late Friday afternoon, including the scheduling of several new comedies and a game show that the network hopes will become the next "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

"American Idol" has appeared on Thursday nights before on occasion, but this is the first time it will reside there full-time. Thursday is a big night for television as movie studios and car companies traditionally spend heavily on that night in hopes of drumming up business for the weekend.

In an interview, Preston Beckman, Fox's executive vice president of strategic planning, said the idea of moving an episode of "American Idol" to Thursday first crossed the network's mind when CBS moved its reality hit "Survivor" out of its longtime Thursday 8 p.m. home to Wednesday nights this fall.

"Here's the opportunity we've been waiting for," Beckman said. "Thursday just isn't what it used to be ... there are still some of the strongest shows on TV, but none of them are in growth mode."

Of course, some might say the same thing about "American Idol." After all, when it returns in January, it will be missing Simon Cowell, the judge who has been the driving force behind the show for almost a decade. New judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez may bring in some initial curiosity, but most industry observers expect ratings to decline from last year.

Still, "American Idol" will likely be the No. 1 show of the season yet again.

Another reason Fox was able to move "American Idol" off of Tuesday was the strong performance of "Glee," which has taken off this fall.

Fox also said it will premiere the new romantic comedy "Mixed Signals" in February in the Tuesday 9:30 p.m. slot, which had been occupied by "Running Wilde," a show that will likely not be back. A new comedy called "Breaking In" starring Christian Slater will premiere in April on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.

Also hitting the schedule in January will be the game show "Million Dollar Money Drop," which will get something of a sneak peek in late December.

Other moves include the cult favorite "Fringe" from Thursday to Friday night.

Shows coming off the schedule early next year include "Lie to Me" and "Human Target." Beckman said both could return with original episodes next summer.

Here is the Fox lineup (after the jump), beginning in January. New shows are marked in bold. Warning: Some returning shows are premiering on certain nights and times and then moving to regular time slots.

MONDAY

8:00-10:00 PM            LIE TO ME (special two-hour episode on Jan. 10)
 
Mondays, beginning Jan. 17:

8:00-9:00 PM              HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM            LIE TO ME
 
Mondays, beginning Feb. 7

8:00-9:00 PM              HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM            THE CHICAGO CODE (series premiere)
 
 
TUESDAY

Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 4:

8:00-9:00 PM              GLEE (encore episodes)
9:00-10:00 PM            MILLION DOLLAR MONEY DROP

Tuesdays, beginning Feb. 8:

8:00-9:00 PM              GLEE
9:00-9:30 PM              RAISING HOPE
9:30-10:00 PM            MIXED SIGNALS

 
WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, Jan. 5 and 12:
8:00-10:00 PM            HUMAN TARGET (two special two-hour episodes)
 
Wednesday, Jan. 19:
8:00-10:00 PM            AMERICAN IDOL (two-hour season premiere)
 
Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 26:
8:00-9:00 PM              AMERICAN IDOL
9:00-10:00 PM            HUMAN TARGET
 
Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 16:
8:00-10:00 PM            AMERICAN IDOL
 
Wednesdays, beginning April 6:
8:00-9:30 PM              AMERICAN IDOL
9:30-10:00 PM            BREAKING IN (series premiere)
 
THURSDAY

Thursdays, beginning Jan. 6:
8:00-9:00 PM              MILLION DOLLAR MONEY DROP
9:00-10:00 PM            BONES
 
Thursdays, beginning Jan. 20:
8:00-9:00 PM              AMERICAN IDOL
9:00-10:00 PM            BONES  

 
FRIDAY

Friday, Jan. 21:
8:00-9:00 PM              KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (season premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM            KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (encore)
 
Fridays, beginning Jan. 28:
8:00-9:00 PM              KITCHEN NIGHTMARES
9:00-10:00 PM            FRINGE

 
SATURDAY
Saturdays, beginning Jan. 22 (no change to lineup):

8:00-8:30 PM              COPS
8:30-9:00 PM              COPS (encores)
9:00-10:00 PM            AMERICA’S MOST WANTED

 
SUNDAY
Sunday, Jan. 9:
8:00-8:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM              BOB’S BURGERS (series premiere)
9:00-9:30 PM              FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM            THE CLEVELAND SHOW
 
Sunday, Jan. 16 and 23:

7:00-7:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS (encores)
7:30-8:00 PM              AMERICAN DAD
8:00-8:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM              BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM              FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM            THE CLEVELAND SHOW
 
Sunday, Feb. 6:

10:30 PM ET/7:30 PT    GLEE (post-Super Bowl episode)
 
Sundays, beginning Feb. 13:
7:00-7:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS
7:30-8:00 PM              AMERICAN DAD
8:00-8:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM              BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM              FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM            THE CLEVELAND SHOW

-- Joe Flint

twitter.com/JBFlint

Photo: "American Idol" judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson with host Ryan Seacrest on Nov. 10 at the show's San Francisco auditions. Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

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