Wednesday, November 19, 2014

FOX Sets January Premieres for 'American Idol' and 'Empire'

FOX has started to unveil its midseason schedule today by announcing early January premiere dates for the return of American Idol and the debut of new drama Empire.

The fourteenth season of American Idol will debut with a special, two-night, three hour premiere on Wednesday, January 7 (from 8-9PM ET/PT) and Thursday, January 8 (from 8-10PM ET/PT). Ryan Seacrest will continue to serve as host, with Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. returning as judges. Auditions occurred in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

The reality series will air two-hour installments on January 8 and January 15. After that, it will be cut back to one-hour episodes on Wednesdays and Thursdays for most of the early rounds. Once the live competition phase starts, it will be cut back further to once a week.

New drama Empire will debut, with limited commercial interruption, on Wednesday, January 7 at 9/8c. following the season premiere of American Idol

Empire centers on Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a charismatic music superstar who is about to take his record label, Empire Entertainment, public. Unfortunately, his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) has just been released from prison and is looking to get her share of his success.

The drama also stars Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers, Kaitlin Doubleday, Malik Yoba and Gabourey Sidibe.

Empire was created by Danny Strong and directed by Lee Daniels. Executive producers are Strong, Daniels, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo and Ilene Chaiken. 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television produce.