'American Idol' to shrink for 14th season, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr and Keith Urban expected to return

By Daniel S Levine,

Fox’s American Idol has been on a downward spiral in the ratings for some time and the network has finally decided to face facts. American Idol’s 14th season is expected to have a very different format from previous seasons, although the season 13 judge’s panel is expected to remain the same.

While speaking with reporters on Monday, Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said that Idol will likely not be 50-plus hours for the new season, notes Entertainment Weekly.

“We always built our second season around Idol,” Reilly said, referring to the spring half of every TV season. “Next year, the format will be different. There will be less hours, around 37 hours.”

Reilly suggested that the show could go two-nights during the more popular pre-taped audition phase. Then, more of the season would be two-hour live shows once a week.

Deadline reports that the details are still being ironed out. Season 13 judges - Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez - are also expected to return. Ryan Seacrest has already agreed to host once again.

Reilly admitted that there’s no way Idol could reach the ratings of its most popular seasons, but the hope is to turn it into a reliable show that the network can lean on, like CBS’ Survivor. Idol averaged 12.3 million viewers and a 3.4 18-49 rating for Wednesday episodes this season.

“It’s not about turning it around — it’s about making it a good show for many years,” Reilly said, notes EW.

Fox also announced its fall 2014 schedule Monday. The winter reality show is Utopia, which will air two nights a week (Tuesdays and Fridays).



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