FOX announced its Spring 2014 premiere dates on Friday (October 25) afternoon, a slate including confirmed returns for “American Idol” and “The Following,” plus a scheduled boost for the comedy “Surviving Jack” and the Greg Kinnear drama “Rake.”
“American Idol” will launch its 13th season, featuring a new judging panel of Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, two two-hour episodes on Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16. [FOX sent critics a 10-minute sizzle reel from the first day or two of the new judging panel and I can confirm that Connick is a hoot and that his presence forced Urban to show more personality in one set of clips than he showed in the entire season last year. Take that as you will.]
The following week, on January 20, “Sleepy Hollow” will wrap up its first season with a special airing at 8 p.m. followed by the second season premiere for “The Following,” which features new cast additions including Connie Nielsen, Jessica Stroup and Sam Underwood.
As was announced way back in May, FOX will premiere “Rake” with a special airing on Sunday, January 19 after the NFC Championship game and then the legal dramedy will migrate to Thursdays at 9 p.m. starting on January 23.
Later in the spring, probably depending on how much FOX can afford to cede the relatively high-rated scheduling space, “American Idol” will be dropping to 30 minutes for its results shows on Thursday, letting FOX launch the Christopher Meloni-fronted comedy “Surviving Jack.” The post-“Idol” slot has previously been used to launch such comedies as “Breaking In,” “The Loop” and “Life on a Stick.” [Side note: I watched every episode of “Life on a Stick” and “The Loop.”]
The half-hour “Idol” results show has been a move teased nearly as frequently as the shift of “Bones” to Fridays. The most recent comedies to get an “Idol” boost all did so when “Idol” briefly reduced Wednesday performance shows to 90-minutes in late spring.
FOX also has “Us & Them” scheduled for a TBD premiere, though the Alexis Bledel/Jason Ritter comedy has already had its episode order trimmed to six, compared to the eight for “Surviving Jack.” [There have been rumors that FOX is about to give a back-nine order to “Dads,” but I refuse to accept that possibility until FOX formally announced it.]
In addition, as was previously announced, FOX has “Enlisted” set to premiere on Friday, January 10. If you’ve read my Take Me To The Pilots entries, you know that I saw a lot of potential in both “Enlisted” and “Surviving Jack” and probably would have found a way to pair them, though this at least gives a bump to “Jack.”
FOX also teased that a pair of new Animation Domination HD entries will premiere on Saturday, January 11, with “Lucas Bros. Moving Co.” and “Golan the Insatiable.” Both comedies will actually be previewed on Saturday, November 23, if you’re curious.
The network is also expected to premiere “Gang Related” and “24: Live Another Day” at the end of the spring, with “May” as the most recent tentative plan.
Because some people like charts…
FOX SEASON AND SERIES PREMIERE DATES
(Times for All-New Episodes are ET/PT Except as Noted)
Friday, Jan. 10:
9:30-10:00 PM ENLISTED (Series Premiere)
Saturday, Jan. 11:
11:00 PM-Midnight ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF, featuring LUCAS BROS. MOVING CO. and GOLAN THE INSATIABLE
Wednesday, Jan. 15:
8:00-10:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part One)
Thursday, Jan. 16:
8:00-10:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part Two)
Sunday, Jan. 19:
6:00-10:00 PM ET NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (Live)
10:00-11:00 PM ET RAKE (Series Premiere, Night One)
Monday, Jan. 20:
8:00-9:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (Season Finale; Special Time)
9:00-10:00 PM THE FOLLOWING (Season Premiere)
Thursday, Jan. 23:
8:00-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM RAKE (Series Premiere, Night Two / Time Period Premiere)