Networks Have High Hopes for Winter Debuts


With this fall’s television season being one of the most lackluster in years, the networks are hoping to get relief this winter with the premieres of some of their biggest events.

On Fox, American Idol comes back for round three with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 20, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.ET, followed by a one-hour episode on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. The show’s regular schedule, like last year, will be Tuesdays at 8 p.m. leading into 24, and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., leading into The O.C., which should boost the ratings of both dramas.

CBS will premiere Survivor: All Stars, featuring 18 of the show’s "most memorable, entertaining and controversial castaways," in the enviable post-Super Bowl time slot on Sunday, Feb. 1. CBS launched the second edition of Survivor: The Australian Outback after Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, and it ranked as the second highest-rated and most-watched post-Super Bowl program since 1987.

NBC will roll out the second season of unscripted drama The Restaurant in 2004, with production beginning on Monday. The second season will take place in the same Manhattan restaurant, featuring celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, and a mix of new and old staffers.