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Fox confirms "everything on the table" for 'American Idol' shakeup


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/13/2013 

Fox has confirmed prior reports that it's considering a drastic shakeup that would replace American Idol's entire judging panel next season.

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"Welcome back? Absolutely. But everything at this point is on the table," Fox chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters during a Monday conference call when asked whether Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban will be "welcome" to return as judges for Idol's thirteenth season, Entertainment Weekly reported.

"We can only confirm that one judge is not coming back, obviously in [Randy Jackson]," Reilly added, referring to Jackson's recent announcement that he has decided to quit the show following this season.

Jackson's media statement released by his publicist late last week insisted that after 12 years of judging American Idol, Jackson has "decided to leave after this season." However, Reilly's comments suggested the network had a hand in Jackson's departure. 

"It was not a complete a shock. We've talked to Randy, we felt like it was time to move [on], we didn't know the exact timing of it. He's been a great partner for 12 years and there's not an ounce of ill-will there," Reilly reportedly said, adding that next year's judging panel will "likely" feature three judges rather than four.

While Fox executives seem to be focused on changing up American Idol's judging panel, Reilly told reporters his doesn't believe the twelfth season's colorful panel is the primary cause of the significant ratings decline Idol has experienced this season.

"More so than any one factor is the age of the show right now, but [also] maybe the format this year," Reilly explained, according to EW.

"We expanded some of the middle rounds we did a boy-girl thing that went over three weeks -- that's really where the ratings took their biggest hit. The only thing I will confirm is next year, without getting into any specifics, our next season begins on the Friday morning after our [Idol] finale. That's when we're really going to get to work in earnest."

And working on Idol's thirteenth-season format is apparently a task on the top of Reilly's to-do list. 

"The format will have a few fresh twists, that we've already identified, that will be a nice little jolt for next season," he said.

Reports that American Idol will reportedly be dumping its entire judging panel for next year's season began circulating earlier this month.

"All four are gone," a source told The Wrap. "They feel they've lost their core audience and they want it back."

The reality singing competition has experienced a steady decline in viewership since it peaked in Season 6. Idol's ratings are reportedly down 22% percent this season and hit an all-time low during a recent Thursday night live results show broadcast when only 11 million viewers tuned in, according to The Wrap.



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