At Long Last … ‘American Idol 8’

Oh, Paula, how we’ve missed you.

At long last, the good news: Fox announced its midseason lineup on Thursday, including the date for American Idol’s season 8 premiere (finally!): Jan. 13, just one night after 24’s two-night, four-hour premiere wraps up.

Translation: You are officially booked from Jan. 11-13 — at least during primetime hours — but you can venture off the couch thereafter.

As previously (and rather controversially) announced, this season’s Idol will be just a tad different: Singer-songwriter Kara DioGuardi has been added to the talent show as a fourth judge, alongside incumbents Simon CowellPaula Abdul and Randy Jackson. And reportedly, less time will be spent on the bad auditions and more time on the Hollywood tryouts.

Among other interesting tidbits to emerge on Thursday was news that House will be moving to Monday nights (instead of Tuesdays) starting Jan. 19, airing just before 24’s regular timeslot — thus packing the strongest one-two ratings punch since, well, Idol and House aired back-to-back on Tuesdays last season.

And Dollhouse, the highly anticipated drama series from Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind Joss Whedon, will debut precisely one month after Idol mania commences, on Feb. 13.

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