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Fox Looks at January

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 30, 2005

As was the case with Simon Cowell's rumored departure from ''American Idol,'' talk about Fox moving around telecasts of ''Idol'' proved premature. Cowell is back, as is noted below, and ''Idol'' will remain a Tuesday/Wednesday fixture.

Fox planned changes in January because it is bringing back ''Idol'' and ''24,'' and they eat up time slots. So changes are being made: ''Bones'' moves to Wednesday, ''Killer Instinct'' is done, ''Prison Break'' will return in March and reality gets yet another watch-stars-fall-down show with the premiere of ''Skating With Celebrities.''

Sorry, I needed a moment. That title always makes me giggle.

Anyway, here's the Fox lowdown for early 2006, first on a nightly basis, then show by show.

Mondays -- ''Skating With Celebrities'' at 8 p.m. from Jan. 23 into March, when ''Prison Break'' returns. ''24'' will be at 9 p.m. as of Jan. 23 but will have a four-hour premiere before that.

Tuesdays -- ''American Idol'' at 8 p.m. starting Jan. 17 (two-hour telecast), ''House'' remains in the 9 p.m. slot (except for that Jan. 17 pre-emption, obviously).

Wednesdays -- ''American Idol'' audition episodes at 8 p.m. beginning Jan. 18. Special premiere of ''Skating With Celebrities'' follows on Jan. 18; ''Bones'' gets the 9 p.m. slot as of Jan. 25, for the weeks when ''Idol'' is still running hour-long audition shows on Wednesdays; when ''Idol'' goes to half-hour results shows, ''Bones'' will probably drop to 8 p.m., with ''Idol'' at 9 and something else at 9:30. (Fox still has some half-hour backup shows in the wings.)

Thursdays -- ''The O.C.'' at 8 p.m., with ''Reunion'' at 9 p.m. until its series finale on Feb. 2. (Fox is calling it a season finale, but it hasn't ordered more episodes of the show beyond its original 13.) The 9 p.m. hour will then probably go to specials during February sweeps, with ''That '70s Show'' and ''Stacked'' taking over 9 p.m. as of March 2.

Fridays -- ''Bernie Mac,'' ''Malcolm in the Middle'' and, as of Jan. 6, ''Trading Spouses.'' ''Killer Instinct'' has its last telecast on Friday.

Saturdays -- Still ''Cops'' and ''America's Most Wanted.''

Sundays -- Comedy reruns at 7, followed by ''King of the Hill,'' ''The Simpsons,'' ''The War at Home,'' ''Family Guy'' and ''American Dad.''

I know, a lot of that is confusing. I had to call a Fox rep to sort some of it out and fill in a few blanks. To make it clearer, here's a show-by-show breakdown of those making moves. (''House,'' ''The O.C.,'' the early-Friday comedies and the Saturday and Sunday lineups stand pat.)

-- ''24'' comes back with a four-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 15, and Monday, Jan.16, before settling into the 9 p.m. Monday slot on Jan. 23.

-- ''American Idol'' has a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, followed by a new hour at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18. It will then settle in at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the audition shows. Once it goes to half-hour results shows on Wednesdays, those will probably move up to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

-- ''Bones'' will move to 9 p.m. Wednesdays as of Jan. 25, as long as ''American Idol'' is doing one-hour telecasts at 8 p.m. Wednesdays. When ''Idol'' goes to half-hours, ''Bones'' will probably move to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

-- ''Killer Instinct'' is done after this Friday's telecast.

-- ''Nanny 911'' does not have a time slot in the early '06 lineup but may pop up as filler on occasion, and will be available if another show falters.

-- ''Prison Break'' will be back at 8 p.m. Mondays with a replay of the ''fall finale'' on March 13, followed by new episodes beginning March 20.

-- ''Reunion'' will stay at 9 p.m. Thursdays until Feb. 2, when it will have its finale.

-- ''Skating With Celebrities'' will have a special premiere at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, following ''American Idol.'' It will then air at 8 p.m. Mondays beginning Jan. 23.

-- ''Stacked'' takes a break from mid-January to March 2, when it returns at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays.

-- ''That '70s Show'' takes a break from mid-January to March 2, when it returns at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

-- ''Trading Spouses'' moves to Fridays at 9 p.m. as of Jan. 6.

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