Broadcasting & Cable's Ben Grossman reports that Fox is considering major changes to hit "American Idol," which is suffering in the ratings compared to previous seasons:
American Idol and the executives from its network don't live in a Fox hole -- they've seen the ratings. The numbers are down, but Fox execs aren't just standing around staring aimlessly off into space like Idol robo-contestant David Archuleta.
Now, let's be clear: It's comical that anyone thinks Fox should hit the panic button for a seven-year-old show that still gets 25 million viewers despite making kids sing Dolly Parton songs with a straight face.
I got my grubby little fingers on an online market research survey Fox put into play last week, and its execs are looking at every aspect of how to plug this ratings leak. The network has been doing online polling for three years because it is cheap and easy, but now the stakes are getting higher as viewership gets lower.
"We're not in denial," Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman told me. "It's still the biggest show on TV, but that doesn't mean there are things we can't do. The feedback from this year you'll probably see on the show next year." ...
While the survey probes whether there is too much or too little banter between the judges, other questions drill down specifically on host Ryan Seacrest. Is there too much Ryan? Is there not enough Ryan?
Read more about the proposed changes to "American Idol" at Broadcasting & Cable, or read the survey Fox executives are using to determine how to tweak the show below, embedded via DocStoc: