What would will the Masked Scheduler do?  As usual, there are rumors that FOX is mulling over moving American Idol from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva probably has it right when she suggests it’s just the annual head-fake from FOX which is largely aimed at confusing the competition.

A missing data point for me is what kind of advertising premium is there for Thursday, versus, say, Tuesday?  Although there may be some Thursday premiums associated with advertising around weekend movie releases and sales, my guess is a 6.0 adults 18-49 rating on Tuesday probably doesn’t carry much of a discount versus a 6.0 adults 18-49 rating on Thursday.  If that’s the case, I can’t see much upside for FOX making the move for the 2010-11 season.

If there are actually healthy premiums associated with Thursday it is more interesting.

Thursdays are a bit beaten down and FOX has a good idea of what its competition will do. NBC will have some lineup anchored by The Office at 9pm.  ABC will likely stick with Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice combo with something new at 8pm.  CBS is more of a wildcard, but if CBS moves The Mentalist to 9pm, FOX still knows what it’s up against.

But with there already being plenty of change for American Idol with Simon Cowell leaving why change something else?  Do FOX executives really want to create a situation where if there is more than the typical (~10%) season-to-season ratings attrition it could be posited  that “it’s not Simon’s replacement,  it’s the schedule!”

American Idol’s ratings might be waning, but they’re not waning more than Grey’s Anatomy, CSI or The Office.  The days when the Thursday competition posed a severe threat to Idol’s ratings versus the other nights are gone, but I still don’t see FOX making the move.

All bets are off in the 2011-2012 season though when FOX can strike fear into the hearts of its competitors by floating the rumor that it will put both Idol and the X-Factor (fall 2011) on Thursdays.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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