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Fox fix shifts ‘Stick’

'Idol' snafu boosts net

Tuesday night’s mysterious “American Idol” snafu ended up impacting the bows of two comedies, Fox’s “Life on a Stick” and NBC’s “The Office.”

By adding a half-hour “Idol” results show tonight at 9 p.m., Fox could potentially blunt the second half-hour of “The Apprentice” — which leads into a preview of “The Office.”

Meanwhile, Fox’s last-minute decision to air an hourlong “Idol” redux of contestant performances Wednesday night preempted the scheduled sneak of “Life on a Stick,” which now shifts to 9:30 tonight — opposite NBC’s heavily promoted “Office.”

How the switcheroo may affect the shows — two of this midseason’s most-hyped new comedies — is anyone’s guess.

But the Tuesday night screw-up wound up a blessing in disguise for Fox, giving it due cause to air an extra hour of the megahit this week (a sure-fire ratings and revenue booster) — and bringing the show to tonight, where it just so happens that “Point Pleasant” has just been axed. (More on that in a moment.)

According to the net, the gaffe occurred at the end of Tuesday’s “Idol” episode, when incorrect voting numbers were displayed under three contestants (Mikalah Gordon, Anwar Robinson and Jessica Sierra). In a conference call, “American Idol” exec producer Ken Warwick blamed “human error” at an “outside contractor.”

Meanwhile, the news wasn’t so, er, pleasant for “Point Pleasant.” Spooky drama had its final airing last week; show averaged a 1.8 rating/4 share after seven episodes, retaining about half of its “The OC” lead-in. Five segs remain on the shelf.

Posting to a fan site, exec producer Marti Noxon said she hoped to get “Point Pleasant” out on DVD — and that in a sense she was glad the show ended last week, rather than now: “(Tonight’s) episode didn’t quite come together the way I would have liked and I would have hated for that to be our final word,” she wrote. “Episodes 9-12 were going to be pretty cool, though. Lots of twists and scary stuff.”

Fox will air its remaining episodes of “Tru Calling” on Thursdays, starting with a two-hour preem March 31. Net has six episodes in the can of the 20th Century Fox TV/Original TV drama, which stars Eliza Dushku as a college grad who speaks with the dead.

Net has also announced that reality skein “Hell’s Kitchen” will air Mondays at 9 p.m. beginning May 30. Skein follows a group of 12 aspiring chefs as they attempt to open a restaurant under the tutelage of famed London chef Gordon Ramsay. Granada and A. Smith & Co. produce.

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