FOX Postpones '24,' Sets 'American Idol' Premiere

With the Writers Guild of America strike looming long-term, FOX has announced an overhauled spring schedule that includes an "American Idol" premiere, but no "24."

FOX is quick to note that a fast resolution to the strike could cause yet another schedule upheaval, but as of Wednesday (Nov. 7) afternoon, the seventh season of "24" has been postponed indefinitely so that when the show returns, it can have its standard uninterrupted run.

For many viewers, the most important part of FOX's Wednesday announcement is the news that "American Idol" will kick off its seventh season with a four-hour two-night premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 15 and Wednesday, Jan. 16. That's happening regardless of what happens with the writers, so it's as close to set in stone as anything FOX does.

"Idol" will have its regular Tuesday 8 p.m. one-hour premiere the following week, continuing to lead into "House," though as of April 1, a new season of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" will take the 9 p.m. hour, going through the summer. As for Wednesday nights, starting on Jan. 23, "Idol" will air for an hour starting at 8 p.m. leading into the new unscripted show "The Moment of Truth," though that line-up will get juggled to include "Back to You."

All of the shifting will cause "Bones" to move to Fridays, where it air at 8 p.m., initially paired with encores of "House" and then with the truncated new drama "New Amsterdam." "New Amsterdam," then, will be paired with "'Til Death" and "The Return of Jezebel James," which will then be paired with "Canterbury's Law" when "Amsterdam" ends its run.

Also premiering in the spring will be the comedy "Unhitched" (Sundays at 9:30) and the unscripted "When Women Rule the World" (Mondays at 8).

The schedule, while difficult to follow at times, allows FOX to maximize its original resources in the event of a lengthy strike.

Confused? We're going to try to break it down night-by-night.

Monday Nights
Beginning Jan. 14: "Prison Break" into "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (which will now have a two-night premiere on Jan. 13 and Jan. 14).
Monday, March 3: Series premiere of "When Women Rule the World" into "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"
Beginning Monday, March 10: "When Women Rule the World" into "House" encores

Tuesday Nights
Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22: "American Idol" into "House"
Beginning Tuesday, April 1: "American Idol" into "Hell's Kitchen"

Wednesday Nights
Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 23: "American Idol" into "The Moment of Truth"
Beginning Wednesday, March 12: "The Moment of Truth" into "American Idol" (9 p.m.) into "Back to You" (9:30 p.m.)

Thursday Nights
Beginning Thursday, Jan. 10: "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" and "Don't Forget the Lyrics!" remain intact. Whew.

Friday Nights
Beginning Friday, Jan. 4: "Bones" into "House" encores
Beginning Friday, Feb. 22: "Bones" into "New Amsterdam"
Beginning Friday, March 7: "'Til Death" (8 p.m.) into "The Return of Jezebel James" (8:30 p.m.) into "New Amsterdam"
Beginning Friday, April 11: "'Til Death" into "The Return of Jezebel James" into "Canterbury's Law"

Saturday Nights
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 5: Same as it ever was -- "Cops," "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted"

Sunday Nights
Beginning Sunday, Jan. 6: Comedy Encores (7-8 p.m.) into "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," "Family Guy" and "American Dad" [Note: On Sunday, Jan. 13, "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill" will be pre-empted for the "Sarah Connor" premiere, while Sunday, Feb. 3 is the Super Bowl.]
Beginning Sunday, March 2: Everything's the same, but "Unhitched" replaces "American Dad" until April 13 when "American Dad" is back

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