Fox to reformat, shrink 'American Idol'

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American Idol is getting downsized for next year’s 14th season.

Fox’s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters Monday that the iconic singing competition show will be “streamlined” next year and will have a new format.

“We always built our second season around Idol,” Reilly said. “Next year, the format will be different. There will be less hours, around 37 hours. I think it will be a two-night format initially during the audition phase, and will quite likely end up as a two-hour show on one night for most of its run.” Idol has been airing 50-plus hours for “quite some time” says Reilly.

Idol fell to series-low ratings this season, averaging 12.3 million viewers and a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 for its Wednesday-night episodes — including DVR playback. Host Ryan Seacrest has already signed on for another season, while current judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. are “likely” to return, the executive said.

Reilly said the network’s goal wasn’t to try and make Idol into a blockbuster again with these changes. (That’s pretty much assumed to be impossible by industry insiders.). Rather, Fox wants to turn the show into a stable and reliable success like CBS’s Survivor, which has now aired 28 installments and continues to be competitive in the ratings. “Idol is not going to come back to be the ratings champion it once was,” Reilly said. “It’s not about turning it around — it’s about making it a good show for many years.”

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