Fox's 'Empire' Nabs Post-'American Idol' Slot

It's not immediately clear what the new Wednesday means for current occupant 'Red Band Society'
Chuck Hodes/FOX
'Empire'

Fox is giving midseason drama Empire as good of a launch pad as it has to offer. The network announced on Wednesday that the high-profile collaboration from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong will bow after a one-hour American Idol premiere.

Both series launch a new Fox Wednesday on Jan. 7, with Idol kicking off its 14th cycle at 8 p.m. and musical drama Empire starting at 9 p.m. Empire, which stars Academy Award nominees Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, is one of the buzzier midseason entries across the Big Four. Daniels has described the passion project as a "black dynasty."

Though it continues to see ratings declines in its old age, an American Idol lead-in is still nothing to scoff at. Last year's season premiere averaged a 4.7 rating in the key demo of adults 18-49 and 15.2 million viewers. The singing competition, which Fox execs have noted will occupy less time on the schedule this winter and spring, continues its premiere on Thursday, Jan. 8, with a two-hour episode.

The news doesn't bode especially well for freshman Red Band Society. The young-skewing drama has occupied Wednesday's 9 p.m. hour this season, pulling a particularly soft showing in the ratings. Nothing has been tacked onto the initial 13-episode order. And though additional scripts were ordered, a final decision on the show's fate past that has yet to be made. It's also unclear if all 13 episodes will air by the end of the year.

More than a few new series are still unscheduled. Comedies The Last Man on Earth, Weird Loners and Bordertown, drama Backstrom and miniseries Wayward Pines all await premiere dates for their planned 2015 launches — as does the final season of Glee.

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