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Fox moves American Idol to Wednesdays and Thursdays next year



american-idol-judges-2011.jpgHere's how scared Fox is for the prospects of its crown jewel, American Idol.

Days before announcing it would move the show out of competition with ABC's still-growing hit Dancing with the Stars, skootching the series over the Wednesdays and Thursdays when it returns in January, the network had newly-returned producer Nigel Lythgoe spinning everyone from TV Guide to The View. (For 10 years, it has aired on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

Lythgoe was scheduled to speak with TV reporters by conference call at 4:30 p.m. Friday, but the network canceled the event at the last minute.

From the moment it was announced, the call sounded fishy -- why would Fox try getting journalists together late Friday before Thanksgiving weekend to talk about its highest-profile show? (Reminded me of the moment Fox finally acknowledged that judge Kara DioGuardi would be leaving Idol with a press release issued at 8 p.m. on a Friday before Labor Day weekend -- way to avoid the news cycle!)

simon-cowell.jpgI'm not sure what Lythgoe is bringing to the Great Idol Revamp, but his powers as a spinner of publicity are unparalleled. While British musicians are in a near-revolt over the way departed judge Simon Cowell's X-Factor rules the industry in England (Who singer Roger Daltrey and Elton John have basically accused him of killing good pop music by flooding the charts with his saccharine pop stars), Lythgoe insists Cowell is the one facing an uphill battle by bring X Factor to American TV.

Dream on, Nigel. With alums Cowell and Paula Abdul each fielding their own reality competition shows for rival networks -- Abdul has a dance contest coming on CBS -- Idol seems ripe for a fall. Bringing in heavy-handed mentors, developing Apprentice-style challenges for singers and lowering the age of competitors to find the next Justin Bieber seem less like inspired reinventions than desperate gambits.

Beyond the Idol move, Fox also gave a vote of confidence its best new fall show, The Shield creator Shawn Ryan's new show The Chicago Code (once called Ride Along), debuting it the night after the Super Bowl behind House. Ensemble comedy Mixed Signals, essentially a Millennial-focused rip-off of Modern Family, bows on Tuesdays replacing Will Arnett's misguided Running Wilde. And Christian Slater gets his third network TV at bat, heading a bunch of brilliantly eccentric security dudes in the comedy Breaking In in April.

Below is the schedule Fox released late Friday. Savor the coming slide of Idol while you taste your turkey legs and plan Black Friday shopping strategies:


(All times ET/PT except as noted)


Monday, Jan. 10:

8:00-10:00 PM            LIE TO ME (Two-Hour Episode)

Mondays, beginning Jan. 17:

8:00-9:00 PM              HOUSE (All-New Episodes)

9:00-10:00 PM            LIE TO ME (All-New Episodes)

Mondays, beginning Feb. 7

8:00-9:00 PM              HOUSE (All-New Episodes)

9:00-10:00 PM            THE CHICAGO CODE (Series Premiere)




 glee_matthew_morrison.jpgTuesdays, beginning Jan. 4:

 8:00-9:00 PM              GLEE (Encore Episodes)

 9:00-10:00 PM            MILLION DOLLAR MONEY DROP (All-New Episodes)


 Tuesdays, beginning Feb. 8:

 8:00-9:00 PM              GLEE (All-New Episodes)

 9:00-9:30 PM              RAISING HOPE (All-New Episodes)

 9:30-10:00 PM            MIXED SIGNALS (Series Premiere)



 Wednesday, Jan. 5 and 12:

 8:00-10:00 PM            HUMAN TARGET (All-New, Two-Hour Episodes)

 Wednesday, Jan. 19:

 8:00-10:00 PM            AMERICAN IDOL (Two-Hour Season Premiere, Part One)

 Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 26:

 8:00-9:00 PM              AMERICAN IDOL

 9:00-10:00 PM            HUMAN TARGET (All-New Episodes)

 Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 16:

 8:00-10:00 PM            AMERICAN IDOL (Two-Hour Episodes)

 Wednesdays, beginning April 6:

 8:00-9:30 PM              AMERICAN IDOL (90-Minute Episodes)

 9:30-10:00 PM            BREAKING IN (Series Premiere)



Thursdays, beginning Jan. 6:

8:00-9:00 PM              MILLION DOLLAR MONEY DROP (All-New Episodes)

9:00-10:00 PM            BONES (Encore Episodes)

Thursdays, beginning Jan. 20:

8:00-9:00 PM              AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part Two)

9:00-10:00 PM            BONES (Time Period Premiere)



Friday, Jan. 7:

8:00 PM-CC ET          AT&T COTTON BOWL (Live)

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 (All-New Episodes)

9:00-10:00 PM            FRINGE (Time Period Premiere)



Saturday, Jan. 15:


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

8:00-8:30 PM              COPS (All-New Episodes)

8:30-9:00 PM              COPS (Encore Episodes)

9:00-10:00 PM            AMERICA’S MOST WANTED (All-New Episodes)



Sunday, Jan. 9:

8:00-8:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS (All-New Episode)

8:30-9:00 PM              BOB’S BURGERS (Series Premiere)

9:00-9:30 PM              FAMILY GUY (All-New Episode)

9:30-10:00 PM            THE CLEVELAND SHOW (Time Period Premiere/All-New Episode)

Sunday, Jan. 16 and 23:

7:00-7:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS (Encore Episodes)

7:30-8:00 PM              AMERICAN DAD (Time Period Premiere)

8:00-8:30 PM              THE SIMPSONS (All-New Episodes)

8:30-9:00 PM              BOB’S BURGERS (All-New Episodes)

9:00-9:30 PM              FAMILY GUY (All-New Episodes)

9:30-10:00 PM            THE CLEVELAND SHOW (All-New Episodes)

Sunday, Jan. 30:

7:00 PM-CC ET          NFC PRO BOWL (Live)

Sunday, Feb. 6:

6:00 PM-CC ET          SUPER BOWL XLV (Live)

10:30 PM ET/7:30 PT GLEE (All-New Special Episode; Approximate Start Time)

Sundays, beginning Feb. 13 (no change to lineup):

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

[Last modified: Sunday, November 21, 2010 8:17pm]


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