It looks like the judges’ panel isn’t the only dramatic change in store for American Idol, which makes its midseason debut in January.
In a scheduling move nobody saw coming, Fox is shifting American Idol to Wednesdays and Thursdays. "Here's a chance for us to own Thursday nights," said Mike Darnell, Fox's president of alternative. "You have to do a big move to take on Thursdays and this is a big move."
How will the move affect the network’s slate of shows, not to mention the offerings of rival networks? Here’s our breakdown:
Tuesday: Without ‘Idol’ on Tuesday, Glee will provide a strong lead-in to Fox's latest reality experiment Million Dollar Money Drop, and will make way for comedies Raising Hope and Mixed Signals in February.
Wednesday: Reaping the most benefits from Fox’s midseason schedule is Human Target. Also taking advantage of an Idol lead-in will be Christian Slater's midseason comedy Breaking In, which won’t premiere until April. Idol’s move will incite several interesting ratings matchups. The Wednesday night time slot puts it in direct competition with Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance, as well as CBS' ratings mainstay, Survivor. While Survivor appears to be immune to rival programming, Paula’s dance competition will likely suffer from this ratings rivalry.
Thursday: It will be exciting to see how CBS’ comedy pairing of Big Bang Theory and Bleep My Dad Says perform against TV’s highest-rated show. It’s expected that Big Bang shouldn’t be affected all too much, but the William Shatner comedy is sure to take a (fatal?) beating.
Friday: While the move should prove beneficial to several of the network’s shows, it may not be the case for the ratings-challenged Fringe. Fox will be pushing the struggling J.J. Abrams drama to Fridays – never a good sign. Despite promises to the contrary by network entertainment president Kevin Reilly, Friday night Sci-fi programs and Fox have never made for a successful arrangement. Time will tell, but it doesn’t look good given that Fringe has been unable to break the 5 million-mark in Thursday night viewership during November.
You'll be able to catch American Idol on Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting this January, on Fox.