FOX announced their mid-season schedule, and it looks like they're shuffling some things around, as well as bringing back the hotly anticipated new seasons of American Idol and 24. It looks like the winner of that cushy post-Idol slot will ultimately be Human Target, a new action series starring Mark Valley as the titular character.
Unfortunately, with the return of some favorites and the premieres of several new shows, that means lengthy hiatuses for some of our current favorites. Fringe is taking a 7-week break after its February 4th episode, while "Gleeks" are going to have to wait until April 13, when it will come back with some Idol-tastic support.
Let's break it down night-by-night (all time are Eastern):
8-9 PM ET: House
9-10 PM: 24
A great lineup that should raise FOX's already solid ratings on Monday nights. 24 is likely to do better than Lie to Me coming out of House. But fans of the human lie detector need not fret, Lie to Me will be back sometime in the spring -- another one of those long breaks -- to finish out its full-season order. Also of note: 24 launches with a two-night of two-hour installments on Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18 before settling into its regular slot January 25.
8-9 PM: American Idol
9-10 PM: Our Little Genius / Glee (April 13)
Okay now, hang in there with me on this. American Idol premieres with a two-hour installment on January 19. The following week, Our Little Genius slips into its regular timeslot after having premiered on Wednesday, January 18 after the Wednesday edition of Idol. Once Genius, a game show featuring true child geniuses showcasing their brilliance, wraps its run, Glee will return with new episodes April 13.
8-9 PM: American Idol
9-10 PM: Human Target
As mentioned above, Our Little Genius premieres Wednesday, January 18 and then slides over to Tuesday to make room for Human Target, premiering January 20. Actually, Target has a series "preview" the prior Sunday, January 17, before this premiere.
8-9 PM: Bones
9-10 PM: Past Life / Fringe
Fringe wraps the front half of its season on February 4. The following week, on February 11, Past Life premieres its shortened season. FOX reduced its episode order from thirteen to seven (I've seen the pilot, and I can't blame them). It's a fairly standard procedural that helps people solve their problems through past-life regression therapy. And yes, it's that weird. Once Past finishes up, Fringe will reclaim its old timeslot on April 1.
8-9 PM: Bones (repeats)
9-10 PM: Dollhouse / Kitchen Nightmares (January 29)
Dollhouse will stop airing back-to-back episodes January 8 to make room for the Bones repeat, which will probably beat it in the ratings. On January 22, Dollhouse airs its series finale, making room for the return of Kitchen Nightmares on January 29.
8-9 PM: Cops
9-10 PM: America's Most Wanted
How long has this schedule been working for FOX? Why change it now.
8-8:30 PM: The Simpsons
8:30-9 PM: The Cleveland Show / Sons of Tucson (March 14)
9-9:30 PM: Family Guy
9:30-10 PM: American Dad / The Cleveland Show (March 14)
For some reason, FOX is choosing to break up their "Animation Domination" lineup by throwing Sons of Tucson right in the middle of it come March 14. At that time, The Cleveland Show will replace American Dad, which goes on hiatus until who knows when. Also on hiatus, but scheduled to return when something fails or there's room for it, is 'Til Death.
Also, FOX has changed the date for The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3D! On Ice! The hour-long special will now air directly following the 450th episode of The Simpsons on January 10, pre-empting Family Guy for the week. It'll be followed by a special peek of The Cleveland Show in the timeslot it will take over permanently come March.