Fox’s midseason scheduling announcement is hot off the presses, and your resulting excitement should be directly proportional to how you feel about three of the network's most bankable commodities: American Idol, J.J. Abrams, and Kiefer Sutherland.
Let’s get the singing-show news out of the way: Regardless of what Fox would like you to think, The X Factor’s first season is a dud. The judges are lackluster, the contestants forgettable, the host incompetent, and the show, as a result, irrelevant. With American Idol, however, Fox execs can at least look forward to stirring up a little buzz. It’ll air on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with a two-day premiere on January 18 and 19, followed by a special "extended primetime broadcast" on Sunday, January 22. I can't wait to see how J-Lo manages to sneak a Fiat onto the stage despite the objections of Ford, a longtime Idol sponsor.
Next up, Alcatraz, a show we’re decidedly iffy about. The J.J. Abrams drama about the mysterious reappearance of missing guards and inmates from the famous prison will debut with a two-hour series premiere on Monday, January 16 before settling into its regular spot after House on Monday January 23. (The good doctor will finish out his final season in a slightly different timeslot, of Mondays at 8pm instead of Mondays 9pm.)
Touch, from Heroes creator Tim Kring, brings the Return of Kiefer; it's a “preternatural drama in which science and spirituality intersect with the hopeful premise that we are all interconnected, tied in invisible ways to those whose lives we are destined to alter and impact.” Sounds like the description for an EST seminar, but whatever, I’ll check it out when it debuts with a "special" preview after Idol on Wednesday, January 25 before its series premiere on Monday, March 19.
Then there are a few zombies thrown in for variety: Not actual, Walking Dead-style zombies, but shows resurrected from the TV graveyard. That’s right: COPS, the inspiration for South Park’s "White Trash, In Trouble," returns to Saturday nights on January 7, while Breaking In, which was canceled last May only to be revived in August, kicks off its 13-episode second season on Tuesday, March 6. The bizarre yet delightful Bob’s Burgers returns to the Animation Domination block on Sunday, March 11.
Finally, while we'll be losing a lemon in Allen Gregory—which Fox opted not to mention in its official scheduling announcemnt—we'll be trading it on Sunday, January 15 for a possible turkey in Napoleon Dynamite, the animated version of the movie that stopped being cool to quote about seven years ago. Note: Before you rejoice over the Allen Gregory omission, remember that Fox was always planning on clearing space for Napoleon Dynamite and Bob's Burgers. That said, it's still not a good sign for the Jonah Hill animated comedy (and by that, we mean it's a great sign).
FOX's Midseason Premiere Dates
New shows are in ALLCAPS
Thursday, January 12
Sunday, January 15
Monday, January 16
ALCATRAZ (two-hour series premiere)
Wednesday, January 18
Monday, January 23
ALCATRAZ (time-period premiere)
Wednesday, January 25
TOUCH ("special preview")
Tuesday, March 6
Sunday, March 11
Monday, March 19
TOUCH (series premiere)