Fox ended speculation on Wednesday that it would shift juggernaut American Idol to Wednesdays and Thursdays next year, instead announcing it will remain on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when it premieres with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 8:00 pm.
Fox Executive VP, Strategic Program Planning and Research, Preston Beckman on Wednesday acknowledged the network considered a shift to Wednesday-Thursday, but also had looked at other options.
“We entertained moving it,” he said. “We’ve played around with it in a variety of situations including Sunday and Monday.”
But Beckman said the network always expected to keep it in its traditional slots.
“These rumors started and we felt no need to confirm or deny them,” he said. “We always it expected to be there. We feel we’ve done right by this show and continue to do so.”
Beckman also said the network will run original episodes of both Idol and the returning 24 straight through the Olympics.
“What people might not remember is four years ago 24 ran right through the Olympics and didn’t lose any ratings,” he said. “And with Idol, with all due respect to the Olympics, it would irresponsible of us to disrupt the flow of the show for the Olympics. People will be there or they won’t.”
He added that the remainder of the schedule during the Torino Games will be “predominantly” original.
Fox also said it will use Idol’s second episode as a lead-in on Jan. 18 to launch Skating With Celebrities, which will then move to its regular Monday at 8 pm time slot on Jan. 23.
The network will once again bring 24 back with four episodes over two days, Jan. 15 and 16, and will run the entire series with no repeats Mondays at 9.
Fox also confirmed Prison Break will return Monday, March 20 for the first of its back-nine episodes. The freshman jailhouse hit was originally going to be held back until May.
The mid-season schedule for Fox does not include a slot for Killer Instinct, which airs its last episode this Friday, Dec. 2. Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy takes over the 9 p.m. time slot after the New Year.
Beckman confirmed that the network has not ordered more episodes of Reunion and Arrested Development.
Other January news includes House remaining in its current 9 p.m. Tuesday time period; the move of Bones to 9 p.m. Wednesdays following the Idol results show beginning Jan. 25; and the returning of Trading Spouses 9 p.m. Fridays beginning Jan. 6. Reunion will end its run Feb. 2.