Fox revealed its 2010-2011 schedule to reporters in a conference call this morning, and the network will be reducing—yes, reducing—the air time for its biggest hit, American Idol.
When American Idol returns in early 2011 without Simon Cowell, its Tuesday performance show will be reduced to 90 minutes and its Wednesday results show will be cut in half, to 30 minutes. Fox said it listened to feedback from viewers, who rightfully thought the show was too bloated. But still, reducing the biggest moneymaker in television? Is this the network recognizing that Idol hit its peak several seasons ago, or is it a crafty ploy to give some new series (which will be slotted after American Idol) an extra boost?
Breakout hit Glee will NOT have an extended break next season, and has landed the coveted post-Super-Bowl slot. Because nothing goes together like 500-pound men in tights who like to pummel each other and jazz hands. Actually, I guess they do go together.
Aside from that, the schedule looks awfully familiar, with House on Mondays, Glee on Tuesdays, and Bones and Fringe sitting tight on Thursdays. Lie to Me will kick off Wednesdays at 8pm in the fall, and Human Target will pair with newbie The Good Guys on Fridays.
Among the new shows, Texas oil-drama (do I smell a new genre!?) Lonestar follows House on Mondays, and gerund-y, confusingly named sitcoms Raising Hope (previously Keep Hope Alive) and Will Arnett's Running Wilde (previously Wilde Kingdom) will back up Glee on Tuesdays. Come midseason, Chicago-cop drama Ride-Along takes over for Lonestar, comedy Mixed Signals slides into Tuesday, Raising Hope moves to Wednesdays, and Bob's Burgers slips into the Sunday animation block at 8:30pm, pushing American Dad! to 7:30pm.
Also picked up, but not thrown onto the schedule yet, is Steven Spielberg's Terra Nova, which is bound to be one of the most buzzed-about shows of the new season. The drama is like an updated Land of the Lost, with a family transported back to the time of dinosaurs.
Because my words are confusing, here's what I just said (and more) in handy schedule form: (New shows in CAPS)
9pm RAISING HOPE
9:30pm RUNNING WILDE
8pm Human Target
9pm THE GOOD GUYS
9pm LONESTAR / RIDE-ALONG
8pm American Idol (performances)
9:30pm RUNNING WILDE / MIXED SIGNALS
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom