‘American Idol’ Cuts Back Airtime for 14th Season, Expected to Retain Current Judges

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Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez attends the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, California April 12, 2014. REUTERS/Phil McCarten Reuters

“American Idol” is expected to bring back its current line-up of judges for the next season, but with reduced airtime.

Fox network boss Kevin Reilly confirmed recent reports that the U.S. talent show will be cutting down its hours from 50 to just 37 hours in season 14.

“The format of Idol will change. Next year the format will be different,” he said. “I think you’ll see it a two-night format, at least initially during the audition phase. It’s quite likely... we’ll end up being a two-hour show on one night for most of its run.”

Reilly also said that while nothing has been “locked” yet, it’s “likely” that the current set of judges will be returning next year. Returning judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, as well “Idol” new judge Harry Connick Jr, don’t have a contract in place yet for season 14, but producers “have good indications from all of them.”

Host Ryan Seacrest has already signed a new deal to return next year.

“American Idol” was once unbeatable in television ratings during its earlier years, but has trouble regaining the same momentum in its current season.

Regardless of its dwindling ratings, Reilly still sees the show last for a very long time.

“It will not come back to being the rating champion it once was,” he admitted, “it can be a vital, potent unscripted show in its time period, like CBS’ ‘Survivor.’

“That’s the mode we’re in and we believe [Idol] will be on the air for many years to come.”

Season 13 is now down to its final three contestants, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson and Alex Preston, after Jessica Meuse was eliminated on Thursday’s episode.

Meanwhile, Reilly also addressed other Fox shows, including “Glee,” which, he confirmed, will be on its last season.

“The order is currently for 22, but we’re actually going to sit down with Ryan Murphy and really talk about how we’re going to end it and figure that out,” he said, referring to the show creator.

While “Glee” seems to be in negotiation to have its episodes downsized, the opposite can be said of the network’s breakout drama “Sleepy Hollow.” Its second season will air 18 episodes, up from the first’s 13 episodes.

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