Is your favorite show switching nights? -- We give the odds for ''Grey's Anatomy'', ''American Idol'' and more

By Lynette Rice
May 05, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Pack your bags, Dr. McDreamy — your services may be needed elsewhere. In an annual rite more closely guarded than a Lost plot twist, the broadcast nets will reveal their fall scheduling changes in mid-May. But no sense waiting for them to tell us what (we think) we already know. Herewith, a few likely lineup rejiggers:

Grey’s Anatomy Hoping to stay strong on Monday nights now that it kicked off football to cousin ESPN, ABC may give the No. 5-ranked Grey’s Anatomy the tentpole position at nine and replace it on Sundays with something new behind Desperate Housewives. (It’s already testing the waters by airing part 2 of Grey‘s finale on May 15.) With viewership down 10 percent since January, ”Housewives is too weak at this point to move,” snipes one competitor.

Without a Trace CBS is expected to drop its two-hour movie on Sundays to make way for new and returning dramas. The scenario that seems to make the most sense: putting the No. 6-ranked Trace on that night so the first-place network can launch a new drama behind CSI on Thursdays.

My Name Is Earl/The Office NBC could put its two strongest — and perhaps only — returning comedies at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Then they’d assign Aaron Sorkin’s new dramedy Studio 60 on Sunset Strip the 9 p.m. slot against CSI. Why? The Matthew Perry-Amanda Peet starrer ”is a way to save face, since NBC has talked about returning to their comedy roots from 8 to 10 p.m.,” says another rival.

American Idol Given its unstated goal of total world domination, Fox could move American Idol from Wednesday to a more lucrative time slot on Thursday, where it could earn gazillions (rather than mere bazillions) of advertising dollars. ”We’re always playing with that idea,” teases one insider. ”But why mess with success?” Fair enough, but that didn’t stop ’em a few years back when they moved The O.C. to Thursday nights.