'American Idol' Plans To Embrace Extra-Long Shows

Earlier this year, there was some grumbling among DVR users and Fringe fans when a few Tuesday night American Idol episodes scheduled for an hour ran over.

But Idol creator Simon Fuller tells Billboard that he has a plan to deal with that: he’s going to embrace those longer shows.

One of the things we’ve learned and will address next year is that there were a couple of shows that we didn’t have enough time on; we tried to cut to an hour too early. Now everyone is in agreement that next year we’ll make those shows hour-and-a-half shows and we’ll have more time to benefit from having four judges.

Um, has he discussed this with Fox yet?

We’re pretty sure Fox would change their schedule around to accomodate its cash cow, but the problem is that Fox might not have an appropriate half an hour comedy to slot after Idol.

Granted, it’s still early, Fox hasn’t even announced its schedule for this fall let alone next winter, when American Idol comes back. But if Idol‘s planning to go ahead with that hour-and-a-half format, that might mean Fringe, which has been a hit after Idol at 9, could get moved to another night, which could affect its ratings—not so much because it wouldn’t have the Idol lead-in but because of competition from other networks on different nights.

And what does Fox even have that it could pair with American Idol for that remaining half-hour? The following are half-hour shows already renewed for next year or ones that could be picked up:

Already renewed:

American Dad

Family Guy

The Simpsons

‘Til Death

Likely to be renewed:


Pilots likely to be picked up:

Sons of Tucson



We doubt Fox will move any of its Sunday night animated series to Tuesday or Wednesday, and it’s likely that Seth McFarlane’s new animated series, Cleveland, will get a spot on Sunday too. And COPS? Please.

That leaves returning sitcom ‘Til Death and newcomers Suns of Tucson and Brothers vying for the post-Idol spot. Since Sons of Tucson and Brothers seem so male-centric, we doubt they’d be a good fit with Idol, and Fox will probably want to pair them together. Our bet is that if Idol does go to an hour-and-a-half, ‘Til Death will get the 9:30 slot, which could give a ratings boost to a show that hasn’t attracted much of an audience.

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