NFL deprives 'Human Target,' '24' of a big lead-in

mark-valley-human-target-320.jpgFOX scheduled the debuts of "Human Target" and "24" for Sunday, Jan. 17 on the assumption that they'd be airing right after a late-afternoon NFL playoff game.

But you know the saying about what happens when you assume.

The NFL's playoff schedule was released this week, and it gives FOX the earlier of the two Jan. 17 playoff games, at 1 p.m. ET (the Minnesota Vikings vs. either the Dallas Cowboys or the winner of the Green Bay-Arizona game this weekend). CBS has the later game, which is scheduled to kick off at 4:40 p.m. ET.

That means FOX will have to settle for lots of promotion of "Human Target" and "24" during the earlier game and hope that fans remember to change the channel once the CBS game (New England or the Cincinnati-New York Jets winner at San Diego) ends. The two shows will also be airing opposite the Golden Globe Awards on NBC.

FOX faced a similar situation last year. The return of "24" after a long layoff did pretty well without a direct NFL lead-in, drawing 12.6 million viewers.

"Human Target," starring Mark Valley ("Fringe") as a security expert for hire, will get another showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 20 following "American Idol" before moving to its regular home at 8 o'clock Wednesdays. Season 8 of "24" moves to Mondays on Jan. 18.

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'American Idol,' 'Human Target' swap timeslots

Photo credit: FOX