Thursday night is the most-watched night of television and the place where networks traditionally put their most successful and most expensive scripted shows. With that tough competition, Thursday night has mostly been avoided by unscripted reality shows, but Fox is changing that at mid-season by putting its #1 show, “American Idol,” into the Thursday night mix.
Fox has thrown down the gauntlet to CBS, which has been dominating Thursdays thus far this season. That follows the move by NBC to go with an all-comedy lineup on Thursdays at mid-season.
The Fox move appears to give clear sailing to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which has traditionally aired on Mondays and Tuesdays. ABC has not yet announced its mid-season lineup, but the Alphabet network no longer has to worry about steering clear of the Idol juggernaut when scheduling the DWTS results show on Tuesdays.
RBR-TVBR observation: With mostly new judges – and, significantly, without Simon Cowell – will Season 10 of “American Idol” maintain its strength with the young demos and continue to be the number one show in network television for the key 18-49 demo? Fox is betting that it will, but there is some added risk in having the second night each week, where the eliminations are announced once the audition shows have played out, go up against the strongest night of the week for scripted series.
If Idol retains its strength, Fox is ready to go after the 18-49 demo with both barrels blazing. The other barrel is “X Factor,” Simon Cowell’s new reality talent competition, set to premiere next fall.