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Upfronts: A new and improved 'American Idol'?

When "American Idol" returns for its eighth season in January, it will still be a singing competition. But get ready for some significant changes in terms of how the show is produced.

Acknowledging that he's not pleased with the performance of the show this year, Fox Chairman Peter Liguori told reporters during a conference call Thursday that he has met with the show’s producers and “everyone is really committed and excited” to revamp the show next year.

“Both the network and the producers really want to take a look at  the show for next year and see what we can to do inject it with new levels of energy and new unpredictable twists and turns and ramp up the storytelling,” Liguori said.  “We do constantly want to make this show the most relevant, zeitgeisty show on TV to keep it on the tips of everyone’s tongue.”

Liguori said the writers strike is partly to blame for the show’s ratings declines. 

“We think the show has somewhat suffered from the post-strike malaise of folks watching less broadcast TV,” he said.

Asked whether the cast was also responsible for viewers turning away, President of Entertainment Kevin Reilly replied:

“Let’s put it in some context. ...It’s not like it’s in the death throes here,” he said. “There’s some real charm in that cast. Whether it’s caught the world on fire, I don’t know. Some of it is just natural maturity of the show. It’s been a phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t go through some natural aging just like any other show. We’ll do some of those creative twists next season, and we’ll see what comes out of it."

Liguori also said that the Wednesday results show will, at least on most weeks, go back to a half-hour. One thing that won’t change: the people sitting at the judges table.

“We love Paula,” Liguori said, responding to a question. “She’s coming back.”

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Comments () | Archives (12)

why single Paula out in a question?? she is the one who gives Idol, by far, the most publicity. and Idol Needs publicity. whereas randy for example gves Idol almost no publicity.. anyway my changes would be: 30 min result, more current themes, possibly a top 20 instead of top 24. and btw.. Idols ratings went Up this week.


Please, dear God, let the producers spare the viewers and contestants the indignity of those awful dance numbers and pseudo-Broadway group sings. Let them also stop forcing the contestants to make those profoundly stupid Ford commercials.

AI is some baby boomer's idea of flashy celebrity. It's so last century!

They have got to cut the phone calls down to 20 to thwart Dial Idol and to make people feel they can actually make a difference. The teenies have taken over and they don't go on talent. Also, they must pick artists that are new, have never made an album - we want to help discover someone, not just pick who we like. Also, cut back the age limit. Granted there is some talent there, but we want "again" discover someone. And we don't want to see the wives and husbands and children sitting in the audience. Do not have categories in the pre top ten shows. Work with the singers to help them pick better songs. Put the contestants all in a house together (I know they did at least in the second season - I remember Reuben and Clay and Kimberly all together) - it will help us get to know the contestants better. Check the contestants background better. The show works in that it is a show that the whole family gets involved in together - we don't want to be pushed into accepting lifestyles we don't approve of. Hollywood may hate to hear that, but do they want to have a show they approve of or do they want more people watching? I'm speaking to you Nigel.

To Crabpaws:

And when you have created a television series that has been Number One in the rankings for seven years running, I'll respect your non-Boomer opinion. Until then...you really don't have much of a leg to stand on, do you?

Must find a way to keep the American Idiots from voting over and over.

Boy, I so disagree with Crabpaws. Must be a reason.
1) Raise the age to 18, I am tired of people picking on Children.
2) keep the Ford commercials, I love them
3) get rid of the judges. Have they said anything new in the last 3 years.
4) ease up on the pimping of the contestants. Try fair judging for a change. I don't need you to tell me how someone performed, I have actually have a mind.
5) I know that by the rules Britney can appear on your show, but people who were professionals,usually don't have the same hunger as people who have tried and been turned down. So lets keep it to semi pros or amateurs with some experience. I know full amateurs don't have a chance because of the work load.
6) If someone has a great voice and they have a disability, consider allowing them on the show, disabled people can sing well. The contestants don't allhave to be pretty, they can be made prettier.
7)Give the contestants at least 100 songs to choose from each show - having 25 songs for 20 contestants is crazy. it is not that the themes are so bad, just that there are too few songs tochoose from.

I think that if you were making millions and millions of dollars, would you change a thing?

OK, that two years in a row TPTB are not pleased with the performance of the show. If they want to inject new levels of energy, replace a judge. Randy would be the one I want gone.

Do not have preselected contestants who don't even stand in line for auditions. As far as professional singers, if they have had a recording contract and a released CD, they are not eligible for the show. Fresh new talent would spice the show up.

Keep the popular themes but add some new ones. Having mentors are fine with me.

There have been various articles floating around about the AI producers manipulating song arrangements and selection to favor David Cook in the last Top 3 show. Obviously, Nigel, Ken and their investors feel he'll make more money for them as the next AI product. Next season, why even bother maintaining the pretense that there is any 'reality' in this show? They should just find the next 'undiscovered talent' in advance who they feel has the best package, and put a bunch of good looking actors to compete with him/her each round and dramatize the heck out each episode. Simon Cowell would be all for it as he's been obscenely open about wanting to make as much money as possible. Randy might take a little convincing but Paula would probably be relieved to get a script to follow. The show would be just as entertaining, and we won't all feel so angry and stupid for being manipulated. We may even buy the Idol's record at the end of it.

I'm appalled to say that I've been suckered in by this show and have wasted my time watching it. Hopefully the contestants who all seem like great people, they won't feel that it's been a waste of their time.

1. Goodbye Randy. Has he ever had anything useful or insightful to say? Paula is lots more entertaining AND gets it right at least occasionally.
2. Results shows start at 8pm, not 9pm. We like to watch as a family but 10pm is too late for school nights.
3. Half-hour results shows would be my second choice.
4. Fewer road audition shows. One camera crazy freak is pretty much like another.
5. More time spent on the Hollywood auditions. I still think Alexandrea Lushington might be with us if she'd gotten more air time.

I'd like to see more "guest" judges for variety. Speaking of variety, why does Randy always go first, then Paula, then Simon ? Simon's ego might get hurt if he doesn't get the last word ? Maybe Paula should go *after* Simon to help soothe the sting...?

Perhaps the cynics who want to rid the show of all cheesiness should appeal to MTV to set up their own competing "sophisticated" contest.

Contestants that have produced independent CD's should still be allowed to compete. Those who have previously had recording contracts should be excluded.


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