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5th Grader Gets More Homework

Producer Mark Burnett’s two strongest shows will run head-to-head for more than a month now that Fox has announced that it is extending the Thursday night run of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Fox has added four more episodes to air 8-9 p.m. ET Thursdays on top of two previously announced airings March 15 and 22. The game show is slated to air after American Idol 9-10 p.m. Thursday and March 8.

That puts the Jeff Foxworthy-hosted game show head-to-head with Burnett’s Survivor on CBS for a total of six weeks. When NBC aired Burnett’s The Apprentice on Thursdays, it had an agreement with Burnett to air the show out of the path of Survivor at 9 p.m. (excluding “super-sized” episodes that started 15 minutes early).

But Survivor, while still a top-10 show, has slipped some since then and The Apprentice has been relegated to a new night following a ratings decline. This time around, it appears that Burnett did not have that same leverage with Fox.

To accommodate the move, Fox is benching Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy and Nanny 911 until a later date. It will double-run Family Guy 9-10 p.m. March 15 and install a second weekly airing of the hit animated comedy at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. On March 22, American Dad will make its debut at 9:30 p.m., also giving it two weekly airings.

The new 5th Grader game show has received high marks in the ratings, with the premiere Tuesday becoming Fox’s highest-rated series debut in 13 years; best-rated series premiere on any network in more than five years among adults 18-49 (11.2 rating/26 share) and in eight years in viewers (26.6 million).

The series debut also made the honor roll by retaining the largest audience ever out of an American Idol lead-in among adults 18-49 (93%) and viewers (88%), and it beat Idol with teens (8.7/28 vs. 8.3/26) and men 12-34 (7.7/24 vs. 7.0/23).

Wednesday’s edition retained 83% of adults 18-49 and 79% of viewers from Idol.