Chaos Theory: Fox Reshuffles the Poststrike Deck
Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz by Kwaku Alston/FOX
As if the implications of the writers' strike weren't already giving us migraines, along comes Fox to make our heads explode with its latest incomprehensible schedule announcement, covering the strike-impacted midseason from January to April (consider most everything you read from here on subject to change). The first piece of bad news was expected: The seventh season of
is being postponed indefinitely, until Fox can ensure the entire season can run intact and uninterrupted. Who knows when that will be? Another blow: Fox is finally living up to its threat to move
to Fridays, effective Jan. 4, where it will be paired with repeats of
(the Fox equivalent of
Law & Order
, considering how often the hit medical drama will be peppered throughout the network's new and unimproved lineup).
To try to help make sense of it all, let's look at the schedule night by night:
out of the picture, the new big-ticket midseason item is now the action-packed
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
, which kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 13, before moving into its regular 9 pm/ET slot on Mondays on Jan. 14.
, which has moved up its fall finale to next Monday, will return in its regular position on Jan. 14, where it is scheduled to air through February. On March 3, a ghastly sounding war-of-the-sexes reality show,
When Women Rule the World
, takes over
's slot. On March 10,
encores take over for
, which apparently will have already completed its midseason tryout.
The bottom line of Fox's midseason schedule boils down to two words:
, which returns with a two-hour audition special Jan. 15.
joins it the following week, airing a mix of new and old episodes through March. A new season of summer staple
is scheduled to begin in the
slot on April 1. (I know, the whole season is starting to sound like a bad April Fools' joke, isn't it?)
Another night for
to rule, starting with a two-hour blast on Jan. 16. The lie-detector-themed reality game show
The Moment of Truth
at 9 pm/ET starting Jan. 23. And when the
results show morphs back into its half-hour format on March 12, it will move to 9 pm/ET, sandwiched between the hour-long
Moment of Truth
at 8 pm/ET and the returning sitcom
Back to You
at 9:30 pm/ET.
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Don't Forget the Lyrics!
will carry on, unaffected by the strike. How happy are we?
repeats will set up shop on Jan. 4.
will be joined by the supernatural drama
(at 9 pm/ET) starting Feb. 22. On March 7,
takes a breather and will be replaced by
and the new Amy Sherman-Palladino comedy,
The Return of Jezebel James
, starring Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose, from 8 to 9 pm/ET. On April 11,
will be spelled by the new legal drama
, starring Julianna Margulies. Is Fox somehow hoping that the strike will magically change the network's fortunes by ending the Friday (a graveyard night for Fox for years) kiss of death for all of these new series?
remain largely unchanged. Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, will end on a high note, with an original
episode guest-starring Mira Sorvino. And on March 2,
will be temporarily relieved by a new midseason relationship comedy,
, starring Craig Bierko and Rashida Jones.
Got all that? Me neither.
Wouldn't it be funny if the strike were resolved soon and this mad juggling act became moot? Wouldn't it? Please, TV gods, give me a reason to laugh.