Fox will not be giving a back-nine order to crime procedural Lie to Me, whose current third season will consist of 13 episodes. Sources at the network stress that the show has not been canceled, with final decision expected to be made in the spring. The rationale for the order cutback is that Fox won’t need more episodes from the Tim Roth-starring series because, according to the network’s recently announced midseason schedule, Lie To Me is only slated to run through Jan. 31, with midseason drama The Chicago Code taking over its Monday 9 PM slot on Feb. 7. Last season, Fox ended up with 12 episodes of Lie to Me in the can after ordering 22 and only using the series for the fall. The network ended up airing those 12 episodes over the summer.
Fox’s Kevin Reilly And Mike Darnell On ‘American Idol’ & ‘Fringe’ Moves; No Back Orders For ‘Running Wilde’ & ‘Good Guys’
“We have been looking at Thursday for a long time,” Fox’s reality chief Mike Darnell said. “It is a tough nut to crack, and if you want to crack it, you have to make a big move there.” Idol has been the biggest show on television for 8 years, so why make this move now? It was CBS’ surprising decision in May to take another reality juggernaut, Survivor, off Thursdays that set the Idol shift idea in motion, Darnell said. With Idol itself going through a major transition with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and without Simon Cowell, Fox brass decided to wait and see how the show’s production was going and, happy with what they’d seen so far, they pulled the trigger on the scheduling change. “It felt like the right time to make the move,” Darnell said. “Now we can own Thursday.”
Seeing the door opening at 8 PM on Thursday with Survivor gone was a major but not the only factor for the Idol move, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. “At the same time, we’re looking at what’s going on on Tuesday where we are winning the night with Glee, which, after airing after the Super Bowl, will probably end the season as the highest-rated scripted series.” Glee was originally slated to …
After mulling such a move for several years, Fox is finally doing it this season: reality veteran American Idol will change its airing pattern to Wednesday and Thursday night in what is clearly Fox’s most serious attempt to date to become a force on Thursday night. This is the second major assault at 8 PM on Thursday this season after CBS’ successful move this fall to open a comedy block there anchored by The Big Bang Theory. Airing against Idol will certainly put pressure on the hit comedy but, just like fellow CBS series NCIS, which has been airing against Idol for years, it will get dinged up but probably not by much. It is the shows that don’t have strong following that tend to get steamrolled by Idol, so NBC has got to be very worried about its 8 PM comedies. (CBS’ freshman $#*! My Dad Says is vulnerable too but at least it has the cushion of a Big Bang lead-in.) And this certainly makes ABC’s decision what to put in the slot, which has been vacant since the cancellation of My Generation, a lot tougher as launching a new show against Idol is a daunting proposition.
The move will take pressure off Idol as it will eliminate ratings comparisons to last season and justify expected declines. Also probably factoring in the decision was the great showing from Glee in the Tuesday 8 PM slot where Idol traditionally aired. Originally, Fox was planning to move Glee behind Idol on Wednesdays in midseason. But with the musical dramedy doing so well as a self-starter at 8 PM on Tuesday night, the network has opted to keep it there. In fact, Fox’s Tuesday lineup remains almost intact, with new comedy Mixed Signals replacing low-rated Running Wilde at 9:30 PM. (The Tuesday lineup will take a month-long break in January when Fox will air new reality game show Million Dollar Money Drop following Glee reruns.) Hours after it landed a seven-episode midseason order, comedy Breaking In got more great news: It is getting the plum Wednesday 9:30 PM slot following the American Idol performance edition. Also great news for Fox’s utility player Bones, which has performed solidly wherever it has been dispatched. Now, it will have an American Idol lead-in on Thursday as it takes on Grey’s Anatomy and CSI at 9 PM. Not so good news for Bones‘ current Thursday companion Fringe, which is being bumped to Friday nights to make room for Idol on Thursday. The rest of the schedule is as previously announced, including new Shawn Ryan drama The Chicago Code airing on Mondays after House and Kitchen Nightmares running on Fridays. (Full schedule after the break)
EXCLUSIVE: Last season’s Fox comedy pilot Breaking In may make it to the air after all. I hear the network is in negotiations with Sony Pictures TV to pick up the project starring Christian Slater to series for midseason. The single-camera workplace comedy set at a digital security firm, is rumored as a possible replacement for underperforming fall comedy Running Wilde, which has not received a back order. Fox’s midseason schedule announced in May has Running Wilde airing after American Idol‘s 90-minute performance show on Tuesday, sharing the 9:30 PM slot with midseason comedy Mixed Signals.