A game of shuffleboard at Fox
The network will create a game show night on Thursday, pairing current 8 p.m. anchor "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" with a one-hour "Lyrics" at 9 p.m.
The new reality series "Kitchen Nightmares," originally slated for the 9 p.m. Thursday slot, will move to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, where "Bones" was expected to air. "Bones" will now open at 8 p.m. Tuesday, while the rookie drama "New Amsterdam," earmarked for that slot, will be held for midseason.
The scheduling moves were prompted by the promising start of "Lyrics," which premiered in July.
"That allowed us to make moves that strengthen our schedule on three nights," said Preston Beckman, executive vp strategic program planning at Fox.
The karaoke-themed "Lyrics" originally ran as a half-hour behind established reality performers "So You Think You Can Dance" and "5th Grader."
"Last Thursday, we took the training wheels off, and it did tremendously well," Beckman said. Two back-to-back episodes of "Lyrics" in the 8 p.m. Thursday period averaged an impressive 8.8 million viewers and a 3.2 rating/10 share among adults 18-49, sealing the show's place on Thursday in the fall.
Fox's decision to give "Lyrics" a fall berth follows NBC's move in July to put its rival karaoke-style game show "The Singing Bee," originally slated for midseason, on the fall schedule. A 30-minute "Bee" will air after "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday.
Fox had been thinking of ways to get "Bones" out of the 9 p.m. Wednesday hour, where it would have faced four other network dramas in the fall: ABC's "Private Practice," CBS' "Criminal Minds," NBC's "Bionic Woman" and the CW's "Gossip Girl."
Beckman believes that the network will fare much better in the time slot with "Nightmares," a new reality show with a proven Fox star, "Hell's Kitchen's" chef Gordon Ramsey.
Plus, "We think 'Bones' will give us a stronger 8 p.m. on Tuesday," he said.
Fox, which is on a 25-week winning streak in the adults 18-49 demo, hopes the scheduling changes will help keep the network competitive into the fall.
"If we could keep the momentum into the fourth quarter, that will make for a very successful year for us," Beckman said.