Originally created 12/02/05

'American Idol' stays on Tuesday, Wednesday nights



NEW YORK - Fans of "American Idol" won't have to change their weekly plans. Fox announced that it will keep the popular talent show on Tuesday and Wednesday nights following its season premiere on Jan. 17.

The network had been considering moving one night of the show to Thursdays, generally television's most competitive night and most lucrative in advertising revenue.

"It's been a Tuesday-Wednesday institution and it's in its fourth year," Preston Beckman, Fox scheduling chief, said Wednesday. "It works. People expect it then. I don't believe it would make significantly more money if we moved it."

"American Idol" has a better chance of helping drive viewers to other Fox shows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he said. In fact, Fox has rewarded its freshman forensics drama, "Bones," with the plum time slot following "Idol" on Wednesday nights starting Jan. 25.

In another scheduling move, Fox has scheduled a reality show, "Skating With Celebrities," on Monday nights until March, when "Prison Break" will return for the second half of its season.

Meanwhile, executives at struggling NBC are mulling wholesale changes to its lineup, particularly on Thursdays, where the once "must-see" lineup has fallen on hard times.

NBC executives are considering moving "My Name Is Earl," the freshman sitcom starring Jason Lee that is already the network's most popular comedy, from Tuesday to Thursday. "Joey," the "Friends" spinoff that is drawing only one-third the audience that "Friends" did in its final season just two years ago, may be moved to another night.

An NBC spokeswoman said Wednesday the network had no scheduling announcement.