new-girl-217-parking-spot-jess-nick-zooey-deschanel-jake-johnson-fox.jpg“American Idol” may not be the ratings monster it once was, but it’s still a power player for FOX and the network hopes to capitalize on that with a one-night-only special airing of comedies “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project” after “Idol” on Thursday, April 4.

The “New Girl” episode “Date Night” features Jess (Zooey Dechanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) attempting to go on a “first date.” “The Mindy Project” episode “Mindy’s Birthday” features Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) throwing Mindy (Mindy Kaling) a surprise party.

“New Girl” and “Mindy” typically air on Tuesdays, where the former has struggled to match its Season 1 ratings and the latter has simply struggled. But both comedies have devoted and deserved followings among fans and TV critics, so FOX probably figures a potential audience boost from “Idol” can’t hurt.

mindy kaling mindy project halloween fox 'New Girl,' 'Mindy Project' to get 'American Idol' boost from FOXIt also gives FOX the chance to test how a show other than “Glee” fares in the 9 p.m. post-“Idol” timeslot. Season 4 of “Glee” has been doing so-so in the slot this year, and there are signs the once red-hot series is burning out. “Glee” hit a series low in both viewers (4.62 million) and adults 18-49 (1.5) in a Thanksgiving airing last year, and came close to those lows again on Valentine’s Day.

Without the advantage “Glee” has of a solid lead-in like “Idol” or “The X Factor,” “New Girl” has been averaging 4.5 million viewers and a 2.4 demo rating in Season 2. That’s down from 6.5 million viewers and a 3.2 demo rating in Season 1.

“Mindy” has been averaging 3.2 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating in its first season, but has recently shown positive signs of audience growth.