FOX has announced that the "American Idol Junior" program that we've previously reported on has been tentatively renamed "Junior Idol" and will premiere Tuesday, June 3rd at 8PM ET -- the same Tuesday time slot as the original series. Variety reports that "Junior Idol" will feature kids under 16 in a format similar, but not identical, to "American Idol." NBC has its own kiddie talent competition, "Most Talented Kid in America," premiering this week. Fox has ordered 10 hourlong episodes; it will be seen once a week.

Berman said all of Fox's programming decisions regarding both "Junior Idol" and "American Idol" were made with an eye toward safeguarding the "Idol" brand. "It's in the background of any decision we make," she said. "We can do brand extensions, but we intend to protect that brand and the franchise." To that end, "Junior Idol" will not be simply a pint-sized take on "American Idol." None of the judges from the original skein is expected to be involved, nor is host Ryan Seacrest, Berman said.

What's more, "We'll have to make (changes) to the show because we're dealing with children," she added. "Many of the fundamentals will change, but there are certain sensitivities involved because we have children involved."

After the summer series ends its run, Fox will likely schedule another reality show Tuesdays at 8 as a lead-in to the third season of "24." Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman confirmed that "American Idol 3" then will launch in January, again serving as a lead-in to "24." The result: Fox's Tuesday night will be one of the few nights on any network to be virtually repeat-free for the entire year.

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