Last week, News Corp COO Chase Carey told Wall Street analysts that “our challenge for next year is to put some fresh energy in” Fox’s American Idol after “we probably didn’t do enough this year” in terms of changes. During this morning’s Fox upfronts conference call, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said the show will undergo “some creative tweaking” heading into next season, declining to elaborate because the reality series is still in production on its current 11th season. He acknowledged that the network didn’t feel it needed to make changes going into this season after a strong previous cycle with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez and that the show’s ratings “dropped more than anticipated” this cycle as “space got crowded.” Asked whether he is satisfied with the new judges’ performance, Fox entertainment president Peter Rice said they are “terrific and have great chemistry and integrity.” He refused to confirm that Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will join Fox’s other music reality series, The X Factor, as new judges, only noting that the new judging panel would be “more entertaining and exiting.”
Reilly also took subtle jabs at NBC, which is putting 13 new comedies on the schedule next season, several of them with shorter orders. “Some of the short orders would be very confusing for the audience,” Reilly said. He later addressed NBC’s music competition The Voice and its signature spinning chairs element. “It’s a twist that turned out to be a gimmick — look at the precipitous decline after that,” he said.