American Idol's Thursday Sprawl - Who Will Survive
American Idol’s temporary extension to a three day a week program is bad news for the big networks. The Thursday 8:00pm slot is already hotly contested now that American Idol, the show called everything from the jack-hammer to the 800-Ton-Gorilla, is going to be asserting itself into the contest, all bets are off for the big three.

So far, American Idol’s live competition episodes have been eating the big three alive. Surprisingly, this weeks men’s competition saw a three million viewer surge in its second hour. How can the results of these two nights of American Idol come in anywhere below the 24 million we peaked at this week? And bare in mind that some critics called the first night of Male competition the WORST men’s night in American Idol history.

As I write this, the American Idol girls are giving their best, wowing the judges and making the male side of the fence very nervous. It’s a bilateral cut for the next few weeks, but it is already looking like the guys will be dropping like flies when it is girls vs boys. Until we get to that point, at least, all eyes on both sides will be on Thursdays at 8:00pm when Idol will be announcing the results from viewer voting.

Here is what the landscape looked like before American Idol. Until last week, Ugly Betty had been dominating the 8:00pm hour. The premiere of Survivor Fiji predictably nudged it by around a million viewers. NBC’s ‘My Name is Earl’ and ‘The Office’ continued to perform modestly at around 9 million viewers a piece.

This week, ABC wisely moved wunderkind Ugly Betty out of American Idol’s way and put a repeat of last weeks ratings spotlight ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in its place. Regardless, it really looks like CBS’s Survivor and ABC have the most to fear. The American Idol viewers are not going to have gone through two days of competition to not find out what happened. Since ABC is obviously bracing for the hit, expect the big gouge to come out of CBS’s Survivor. Does The Office and Earl have anything to fear? I doubt it. Payday comedy’s have very loyal audiences.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the results! Look out Thursday, the steamroller named American Idol is coming for you.