'New Girl,' 'Mindy Project' to get 'American Idol' boost from FOX

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new-girl-217-parking-spot-jess-nick-zooey-deschanel-jake-johnson-fox.jpg "American Idol" may not be the ratings monster it once was, but it's still a power player for FOX and the network hopes to capitalize on that with a one-night-only special airing of comedies "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" after "Idol" on Thursday, April 4.

The "New Girl" episode "Date Night" features Jess ( Zooey Dechanel) and Nick ( Jake Johnson) attempting to go on a "first date." "The Mindy Project" episode "Mindy's Birthday" features Morgan ( Ike Barinholtz) throwing Mindy ( Mindy Kaling) a surprise party.

"New Girl" and "Mindy" typically air on Tuesdays, where the former has struggled to match its Season 1 ratings and the latter has simply struggled. But both comedies have devoted and deserved followings among fans and TV critics, so FOX probably figures a potential audience boost from "Idol" can't hurt.

mindy-kaling-mindy-project-halloween-fox.jpgIt also gives FOX the chance to test how a show other than "Glee" fares in the 9 p.m. post-"Idol" timeslot. Season 4 of "Glee" has been doing so-so in the slot this year, and there are signs the once red-hot series is burning out. "Glee" hit a series low in both viewers (4.62 million) and adults 18-49 (1.5) in a Thanksgiving airing last year, and came close to those lows again on Valentine's Day.

Without the advantage "Glee" has of a solid lead-in like "Idol" or "The X Factor," "New Girl" has been averaging 4.5 million viewers and a 2.4 demo rating in Season 2. That's down from 6.5 million viewers and a 3.2 demo rating in Season 1.

"Mindy" has been averaging 3.2 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating in its first season, but has recently shown positive signs of audience growth.
Photo/Video credit: FOX