EXCLUSIVE: Fox is firming up its midseason comedy scheduling plans. I’ve learned that the network is going to launch Surviving Jack after American Idol on Thursday. The comedy’s order has been trimmed from 13 to 8 episodes, but unlike the recent order reduction for Fox’s other midseason live-action comedy, Us & Them, this decision was dictated by scheduling reasons — Fox will have eight weeks worth of available 8:30 PM slots on Thursday when the American Idol results show gets pared down for the first time to 30 minutes. With Us & Them unlikely to factor into Fox’s midseason plans, the decision to put Surviving Jack on Thursday indicates that the network is likely planning to keep its Tuesday comedy block intact for the remainder of the season. New Girl and The Mindy Project have 22-episode orders, and newbie Brooklyn Nine-Nine was given a full-season pickup last week. That means that the remaining comedy, freshman Dads, will probably get a Back 9 order too, and I hear that is in the works.
Surviving Jack, executive produced by Bill Lawrence, is a Chris Meloni showcase and a coming-of-age comedy that I hear Fox brass hope could capitalize on American Idol’s broad audience. Fox has launched comedies behind a 90-minute American Idol and The X Factor, mostly before launching the two-hour Tuesday comedy block. The last two shows to get that treatment were Breaking In behind Idol and I Hate My Teenage Daughter behind X Factor. Here is Surviving Jack’s official trailer from the upfronts (keep in mind the female lead has since been recast with Rachael Harris):