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With Paula Abdul in its arsenal, CBS is looking to get a jump on Fox’s “American Idol” juggernaut.

Eye will launch Abdul’s new dancing competish, “Live to Dance,” with a two-hour special on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. The show will then move into its regular one-hour Wednesday night slot the following night, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m.

Move would seemingly give “Live to Dance” a one-week head start on “Idol,” which usually launches the second week of January. Last year’s 10th edition, for example, bowed with a two-night premiere on Jan. 12 and Jan. 13.

Scheduling sets the stage for a smackdown between Abdul and her former “Idol” employers in week two, however. “Live to Dance” will go live starting with the Jan. 12 show – which almost certainly will go up against “Idol.”

Now we'll await Fox's scheduling response. It's unlikely that the network will let this challenge go unanswered. (Our idea: Fox goes up against the "Live to Dance" premiere with a special "Paula's Greatest (and Not So Great) 'American Idol' Moments." An hour-long special featuring nothing but wacky Paula segments? Tempting.)

“Live to Dance’s” Jan. 4 premiere will focus on auditions in New York and Los Angeles, with the show’s contestants picked at the end of the hour.

The following night, the Jan. 5 episode will feature a “dance off” among contenders who had just missed being picked. Those second-chance winners will become a part of the show’s 18 contestants.

“Live to Dance’s” live episodes start Jan. 12 with the first six dance acts competing, and two winners advancing. After three rounds, the six remaining dance acts will compete for the final prize: $500,000.

Abdul will serve as a judge along with Travis Payne and Kimberly Wyatt; Andrew Gunsberg is host.

The “Live to Dance” format comes from Princess Prods. and Shine TV. Reveille is behind the show, which is exec produced by Elisabeth Murdoch, Howard T. Owens, Abdul, James Sunderland, Anthony Dominici and Robin Ashbrook.

“Live to Dance” will bridge the gap between “Survivor” cycles in the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot.

 

"Live to Dance" reps the first midseason CBS series to get an airdate. Also in the Eye arsenal: The comedy "Mad Love," spinoff "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" and comedic cop drama "Chaos."

Among the possible homes for those shows: "Mad Love" could get a berth Mondays at 8:30 when CBS rests "Rules of Engagement"; "Suspect Behavior" could run behind the mother "Criminal Minds" ship if "The Defenders" takes a hiatus; and "Chaos" could always end up Fridays at 8 p.m. after "Medium," which just got an episodic reduction, ends its run.

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