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Fox expands 'American Idol 7' finals result shows to a full hour


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 02/12/2008 

It looks like both finalists and viewers will have to wait an extra half-hour to learn American Idol's seventh-season voting results.

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Fox has announced it will expand Idol 7's weekly results show broadcasts to a full hour beginning with the season's Wednesday, March 12 at 9PM ET/PT broadcast that will send the competition's first Top 12 finalist home.

Prior to today's announcement, Fox had previously announced plans to air sitcoms in the Wednesdays at 9:30 PM/PT post-Idol time period.   A "special preview" broadcast of the network's new The Return of Jezebel James sitcom was set to air in the time period on March, 12, with broadcasts of Back to You scheduled to take over the time period beginning the following week.

Instead, Jezebel James will now premiere on Friday, March 14 at 8PM ET/PT, after which the show will air a second episode in its originally-scheduled 8:30PM ET/PT time period.  Back to You will still air original episodes (its last two pre-Hollywood writers strike episodes) after Idol's 90-minute semifinals broadcasts on February 26 and 27, however Fox has not currently rescheduled the show's previously-planned Wednesday night broadcasts.

Last year, Idol's results show broadcasts didn't expand to one-hour broadcasts until the Top 7 were revealed in mid-April.

In addition, Fox also officially announced American Idol 7 will air a special one-hour results show broadcast on Thursday, April 10 at 9PM ET/PT due to the network's previously announced decision to air a special two-hour Idol Gives Back charity event on Wednesday, April 9 at 8PM ET/PT.

Idol Gives Back's 2007 charity event aired over the course of two late-April Idol 6 broadcasts, and the event raised $75 million from both home viewer and corporate contributions.  It also featured some tough moments for the Top 6 finalists, as the second night of the fundraiser was held during one of the season's results show broadcasts.

"We were forced into that situation because of the very nature of what we were doing," Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters during a December conference call. 

"We had many discussions about it.  I refused to cut anybody that night.  I can't ask America to send money in, look at these poor people, 'Oh and by the way, Jordin Sparks, you're cut tonight.  Bye-bye, darling.'  It would have been horrible.  It would have been awful, but if you know me after seven years, you know I'm not just going to say at the beginning of the show, 'We're not going to cut anybody.'  I've got to play.  I've got to be cruel.  That's the puppet master in me, if you will.  Yes, we messed around with the kids.  Bless them."

Lythgoe was quick to add he "wouldn't dream of doing it again" like that and found a simple solution -- airing that week's results show broadcast the following night.

"We only did it then because of the situation we were in that was the only airtime we had," he said.  "Now we're taking a separate day out altogether, so what we'll probably do is the competition on a Tuesday; the [Idol Gives Back] show on a Wednesday; and the results on a Thursday."


(Photo credit Fox)


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