“Idol” is kicking off its 14th season a week earlier than usual, and “Empire,” a family drama set in the music industry starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, will follow with a premiere that Fox says will include limited commercial interruption.
“Empire” will air regularly on Wednesday following “American Idol.” And by bowing on Jan. 7, “Empire” won’t have to face the timeslot’s biggest drama, as CBS’ “Criminal Minds” will be pre-empted for the People’s Choice Awards.
Fox is expected to reveal additional schedule details soon. It’s unclear what Wednesday’s schedule announcement for “Empire” means for current Wednesday 9 p.m. occupant “Red Band Society,” a first-year drama that has struggled in the ratings but remains a favorite of the network. Fox also has yet to announce a timeslot for “Glee,” which is wrapping its run in 2015.
“American Idol” will continue its two-night, three-hour premiere week on Thursday, Jan. 8 from 8 to 10 p.m., and will return with another two-hour auditions installment the following week. Ryan Seacrest returns as host, with judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.
“Empire” hails from Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. The series is created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. The pilot is written by Daniels and Strong. The series is executive-produced by Daniels, Strong, Brian Grazer, Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”) and Francie Calfo (“Those Who Kill,” “Gang Related”). Daniels directed the pilot.