Fox Contemplates Moving American Idol to Thursday

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If you think the Thursday TV lineup already has too many can’t-miss shows scheduled at the same tim, don’t finish programming your TiVo just yet.

According to the L.A. Times, Fox is openly dangling the possibility of moving American Idol to Thursdays when the show comes back in January.

Ryan Seacrest Hoists the Hardware

Wasn’t this season already insanely competitive enough? Starting this week, ABC’s gutsy move of Grey’s Anatomy to 9 p.m. Thursday will set off a fierce ratings battle with CBS’ hit whodunit, CSI.

But Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori said he believes that the top three networks could still profit with their respective No. 1 series airing on the same crucial night -- maybe even at the same time.

“When you have a number of great shows on the same night, the audience expands,” Liguori said last week, openly broaching the possibility of a regular Thursday slot for Idol when it returns in January.

Fox isn’t ready to commit, and in fact, it may not nail down plans until Christmas rolls around. Is it all just Idol speculation? Maybe.

After all, Fox made similar rumblings about moving its singing contest to Thursday last year and never did it, although the gossip helped knock NBC off stride: The network waited to move My Name Is Earl to Thursdays last season until it was sure Fox would not put American Idol on that night.

But Fox is, again, openly mulling the risky move for TV’s most popular show this year. It shows how crazily competitive the business is becoming, with no firmly entrenched leader among the adults aged 18-49 demographic group that advertisers covet (CBS has for years been No. 1 in total viewers, a distinction that means little on Madison Avenue).

By moving American Idol, Fox could conceivably control the most lucrative ad time in prime time -- and also foil rivals’ efforts to dominate that night with their own top shows. Suffice it to say, we'll be following Ryan Seacrest (pictured) and company wherever they go.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.