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"American Idol" Will Change Format Next Year, Fox Exec Says

Fox(NEW YORK) -- If all the American Idol judges are going to be fired, as has been rumored, Fox isn't going to say anything about it until the current season wraps up later this week.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said he'd have more on the topic of judges on Friday, but right now would only confirm what has already been announced: that veteran judge Randy Jackson is leaving the show.  However, Reilly did add that it was "likely" the show will go back to a three-judge format next season.

Reilly said that Jackson's departure was "not a complete shock," adding, "It feels like it was time to move...he's been a great partner for 12 years and there's not an ounce of ill will there either way." 

As for the other judges, Reilly said that Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey would all be "welcomed back," but added, "Everything at this point is on the table and we'll talk about it starting Friday."

However, Reilly would not lay the blame for American Idol's slipping ratings at the judges' feet.  He told reporters he feels that the show's age -- this is season 12 -- was contributing to the ratings slide, as well as the way the show was formatted this year. 

"We expanded some of the middle rounds. We did a boy/girl thing that went over three weeks," he explained. "That is really where the ratings kind of took their biggest hit. So, really if I were to point to any one thing, it might've been that format."

That's why, Reilly says, the first thing they're going to do to change Idol for season 13 is to tinker with the show's structure.

"I think the format, more than anything, will have a few fresh twists next year that we've already identified that I think will be a really nice little jolt for next season," he told reporters.

The American Idol season 12 finale, featuring Kree Harrison facing off against Candice Glover, finishes up on Thursday.  On Friday, Reilly says they'll officially begin working on season 13.

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