'American Idol' will get an NFL boost in 2012

idol-s10-top-13-judges.jpg "American Idol" will be back next year -- there was no doubt about that going into FOX's upfront presentation Monday afternoon (May 16).

But the network made what feels like an acknowledgement that the show is not the juggernaut it once was in announcing its 2012 premiere date. For the first time, "Idol's" season debut will have a lead-in.

FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced at the upfront that the 2012 season of "Idol" will premiere on a special night, Sunday, Jan. 22, following the NFL's NFC title game. (We should note here that both networks who presented their schedules Monday, NBC and FOX, are confident/hopeful that the NFL will resolve its lockout in time for a more or less normal schedule to be played.)

It's not a Super Bowl lead-in, but it's pretty much the next best thing: FOX's telecast of this year's NFC championship drew better than 50 million viewers.

Following the premiere, "American Idol" will slide into its regular Wednesday-Thursday schedule for the remainder of the season.
Photo/Video credit: FOX