Fox’s American Idol is gently dipping its toes in the competitive Thursday-night waters for the first time, scheduling a one-hour live results show in sweeps that will send home four performers at 8 P.M. Feb. 23, as well as two others in March.
Four more contestants—two males and two females—will be eliminated from the competition show from 8-9 p.m. on the March 2 and 9 episodes (preceded by Tuesday- and Wednesday-night performance episodes). The top 12 finalists will also be revealed on the second Thursday-night telecast.
All other episodes from January through the finale in May, which traditionally ends on the final night of the season, will air as usual on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, a spokesman said.
Other networks had avoided making midseason scheduling decisions until recently, when Fox formally announced it was sticking with its standard game plan for the fifth edition of the highly rated musical competition series. Idol has been a spoiler, and other networks were nervous over speculation it was considering moving one of its two weekly episodes to Thursdays.
Idol will begin Jan. 17 and 18, with the show featuring audition cities on the first four consecutive Tuesdays through Feb. 7. Those will be comprised of two two-hour and two one-hour episodes. Additionally, Fox has slated three one-hour Wednesday night episodes to air through Feb. 1.
The Hollywood round will be from 8-9 p.m. Feb. 8, 14 and 15, with the top 24 semifinalists—12 males and 12 females—moving into later rounds.
The Fox Reality Channel previously announced that Idol will make its cable debut from Jan. 2-17 leading up to the network debut.