'American Idol' will 'tighten up' next season

simon-cowell-american-idol-3-320.jpg"American Idol" is going on a diet next season.

When FOX announced its midseason schedule for 2010-11 on Monday (May 17), it had "American Idol" in its usual Tuesday-Wednesday pattern starting in January. Once it gets to its live shows, though, Tuesday performance episodes will run for 90 minutes, while the Wednesday results show will be trimmed to a half-hour.

"We've looked at some feedback, and we feel the audience wants us to tighten up the results show, and they want more performances," FOX Chairman Peter Rice says. "So that's what we're going to try to give them next year. And it has the added benefit of opening up spots for new half-hour comedies."

Comedies "Running Wilde and "Mixed Signals" will share the 9:30 p.m. Tuesday spot after "Idol" next year, while "Raising Hope" is set for 8 p.m. Wednesdays at midseason, leading into the results show. (FOX's midseason schedule tends to be more subject to change than most, but that's the plan for now.)

Rice and FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly say they'll look at all the feedback on the show -- ranging from a "huge swath" of viewers who tell Reilly they love it just the way it is to the AmericanIdol.com survey done by the show's producers -- in considering how to tinker with the format for next season. "What we do every year on 'Idol' is go through all the research on the season and then talk about what's coming," Rice says.

Rice also says that a decision on hiring a replacement for Simon Cowell won't be made until after the season, and there is "no bigger decision" that the network has to make over the summer.

The new judge will have to bring both "music credibility and incredible entertainment value" to the table, Rice says. Because the decision-making process is likely to take some time, auditions for the show will start later than usual, likely in September.

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