American Idol faces Survivor; Fox moved Idol because CBS moved Survivor to Wednesdays

For years, there was talk that Fox would move American Idol to Thursday nights for its entire season, where it could have faced off against Survivor, but it never happened until now, when TV’s number one show finally made the move, meaning Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson will face off against Jeff Probst in the 8 p.m. hour. It’s the second phase of the Hollywood round versus the debut of Survivor Redemption Island.

Why did Fox finally decide to move it? Because CBS moved Survivor off of Thursday nights. Yes, it was CBS’ own scheduling change that gave Survivor its first formidable opponent in years, and may end its near-constant timeslot wins.

Last month, Fox entertainment chair Peter Rice told TV critics that the move “was something we started to discuss in May when CBS moved ‘Survivor’ off of Thursday,” he said. “If you actually look at the rating points across the 8 o’clock to 9 o’clock hour, they’re down this fall from where they were a year ago. So we viewed that as an opportunity. And there was a lot of discussion about it.”

And expect to see So You Think You Can Dance and The X Factor occupy the same timeslots–which means Simon Cowell will face Survivor in the fall. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told us they wanted “consistent scheduling with these performance shows, including Dance in the summer. We started looking at the night and feeling there was an opportunity there. We didn’t want to reconstitute the schedule.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.