FOX is moving “Glee” to Thursday nights in the fall and promising changes to underperforming competition shows “American Idol” and “The X Factor.”
Fox on Monday became the second of the broadcast networks to announce next season’s schedule this week, following NBC on Sunday. It will add two comedies this fall, turning Tuesday into a sitcom night, and one drama.
“American Idol” remains Fox’s centerpiece, as it has been for the past decade, but the show has lost a startling quarter of its audience this season.
“This year was a bigger drop-off than we anticipated,” said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. He said “Idol” made no changes from last year, and there was little “urgency to view” at the beginning of the season.
He promised changes for next season, but he wouldn’t be specific.
“There’s a lot of life left in it,” he said.
Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor” did well last fall, but didn’t live up to the creator’s inflated expectations. Shortly after the season ended, judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones were dispatched.
Fox executives on a conference call Monday would not discuss persistent reportsthat Britney Spears will join as a judge. They have a splashier chance: the executives show off the new schedule before thousands of advertisers at a Manhattan theater later on Monday.
“Not to be negative about the people leaving, but we just felt the mix could be more effective and more entertaining,” said Peter Rice, entertainment chairman for the Fox Networks Group.
“Glee,” which saw ratings erosion this year, moves to Thursday and a comfortable 9 p.m. ET time slot following “The X Factor” in the fall and “Idol” in the spring. Reilly said the show is “poised for a creative renaissance” and has signed Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker for limited runs next season.
Part of the reason Fox moved “Glee” is to make Tuesday a four-sitcom night, with two new shows joining “New Girl” and “Raising Hope.” Mindy Kaling, author of “The Office,” creates and stars in “The Mindy Project,” a romantic comedy about a doctor looking for love. The other new comedy, “Ben and Kate,” is about a pair of odd couple siblings.
“We’ve been building comedy momentum on Tuesday and we finally have the shows that have exactly the tone that we are looking for,” Reilly said.
The fall’s only new drama is “The Mob Doctor” on Monday night, about a young doctor who has to pay off her family’s lifelong debt to the Chicago mob.
Actor Kevin Bacon has signed on for a drama that will air in midseason. “The Following” features Bacon as a former FBI agent asked to uncover a network of alliances between serial killers. Another comedy focused on a family, “The Goodwin Games,” is due at midseason and stars actor Scott Foley of “Felicity” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Fox’s long-running drama “House” is ending its run this spring, and the network is cancelling high-profile dramas “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz.”
Fox has also made changes to its long-running Saturday night lineup, where “COPS” won’t return until midseason. In the fall, Fox will present live sports events like college football and NASCAR races that night.