The move puts Fox into the competitive Thursday landscape, but ‚ÄúIdol‚ÄĚ (which airs at 8 p.m.) will not conflict with the heavily contested 9 p.m. hour, where NBC has moved its breakout hit ‚ÄúMy Name Is Earl‚ÄĚ followed by ‚ÄúThe Office‚ÄĚ in an attempt to rebuild its Must See TV Thursday night. ABC has slated its surprise hit ‚ÄúDancing With the Stars‚ÄĚ for its midseason Thursday night.
The two nights of ‚ÄúAmerican Idol‚ÄĚ were last year‚Äôs two highest rated shows in viewers 18-to-49. According to Ad Age‚Äôs 2005 to 2006 network pricing chart, it commands the highest ad rates, with the price of the 30-second spot running $518,466 in the Wednesday edition and $496,866 in the Tuesday edition.
Fox, which only programs two hours of prime-time programming a night, has a crowded schedule come January, thanks to the return of its two biggest hits, ‚ÄúIdol‚ÄĚ and ‚Äú24,‚ÄĚ which will premiere over two nights Jan. 15 and 16. Fox‚Äôs new ‚ÄúSkating with Celebrities‚ÄĚ premieres Wednesday, Jan. 18, and moves to its regular Monday night 9 p.m. spot on Jan. 23. Its freshman hit ‚ÄúPrison Break‚ÄĚ returns Monday, March 13 at 8 p.m.
~~ James Hibberd is a reporter for Television Week.