The ratings powerhouse will expand to three nights for three weeks

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 20, 2005 08:00 AM

Ryan Seacrest will be working overtime on American Idol starting next season.

After weeks of speculation that it was switching its Tuesday-Wednesday show to Wednesday-Thursday – and then announcing that the schedule would not change after all – FOX now says that the live results show will air on Thursdays during the three-week semifinals.

As previously announced, the audition stage of the talent hunt will air at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Jan. 17. Semifinals kick off Feb. 15, when the 12 male and 12 female singers who made it through the preliminary rounds will be revealed.

For the subsequent three weeks, the men will perform on Tuesday, the women on Wednesday, with an hour’s worth of live results slated for 8-9 p.m. on Thursday.

Once the field is winnowed down to 12 finalists, the last round of competition will return to the usual Tuesday-Wednesday schedule beginning March 14.