NEW YORK — Fox is promising changes to underperforming competition shows American Idol and The X Factor and trying to breathe new life into Glee by moving it to a new night and adding guest stars Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The network will add two comedies to its schedule in the fall, turning Tuesday into a sitcom night, and will add one drama. Fox on Monday became the second broadcast network to announce next season’s schedule, following NBC on Sunday.
American Idol remains Fox’s centerpiece, as it has been for the past decade, but the show has lost a quarter of its audience this season.
“This year was a bigger drop-off than we anticipated,” said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly. He said Idol made no changes from last year, and there was little “urgency to view” at the beginning of the season.
He promised changes for next season, but he wouldn’t give any details.
“There’s a lot of life left in it,” he said.
Simon Cowell’s The X-Factor did well in the fall, but it didn’t live up to the creator’s inflated expectations. Shortly after the season ended, judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones were dispatched.
Fox executives on a conference call Monday would not discuss persistent reports that Britney Spears will join as a judge. They have a chance to make a splash later: the executives show off the new schedule before thousands of advertisers at a Manhattan theatre later Monday.
“Not to be negative about the people leaving, but we just felt the mix could be more effective and more entertaining,” said Peter Rice, entertainment chairman for the Fox Networks Group.
Once a sensation, “Glee” saw its viewership drop by 21 per cent this season. It will move to Thursday nights and a comfortable 9 p.m. ET time slot following “The X Factor” in the fall. Reilly said the show is “poised for a creative renaissance,” and has Hudson and Parker lined up for multi-episode guest slots.
Part of the reason Fox moved “Glee” is to make Tuesday a four-sitcom night, with two new shows joining “New Girl” and “Raising Hope.” Mindy Kaling, actress, producer and writer for “The Office,” creates and stars in “The Mindy Project,” a romantic comedy about a doctor looking for love. The other new comedy, “Ben and Kate,” is about a pair of odd couple siblings.
“We’ve been building comedy momentum on Tuesday and we finally have the shows that have exactly the tone that we are looking for,” Reilly said.
The fall’s only new drama is “The Mob Doctor” on Monday night, about a young doctor who has to pay off her family’s lifelong debt to the Chicago mob.
Actor Kevin Bacon has signed on for a drama that will air in midseason that Reilly called “the new ’24.”’ The show, “The Following,” features Bacon as a former FBI agent asked to uncover a network of alliances between serial killers.
Another comedy focused on a family, “The Goodwin Games,” is due at midseason and stars actor Scott Foley of “Felicity” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Fox’s long-running drama “House” is ending its run this spring, and the network is cancelling high-profile dramas “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz.”
Fox has also made changes to its long-running Saturday night lineup, where “COPS” won’t return until midseason. In the fall, Fox will present live sports events like college football and NASCAR races that night.