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‘American Idol’ gets less screen time next season

‘American Idol’ gets less screen time next season

'AMERICAN IDOL:'Singers and judges Keith Urban (L), Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. (C) pose with host Ryan Seacrest (2nd R) and producer Randy Jackson at the party for the finalists of "American Idol XIII" in West Hollywood. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s schedule for the upcoming television season will feature a high-profile show on Batman called “Gotham,” while the company will reduce the air time for the struggling singing contest program “American Idol.”

“Gotham,” which stars Jada Pinkett Smith, follows a policeman in the world of Batman and charts the origins of the DC Comics superhero.

The 13-year-old “American Idol,” which has been dragging down Fox’s ratings, will start the season at two nights a week during the auditions phase, but “it’s quite likely it’ll end up being a two-hour show on one night through most of its run,” said Fox Broadcasting’ Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly on a Monday conference call about the new line-up.

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The move will cut down the Idol’s hours to 37 from roughly 50 hours for the season.

Shares of Fox were up 3.5 percent at $35.35 in morning trading on news that the company could consolidate its stakes in European pay-TV companies.

Fox, along with its broadcast rivals, plans to announce its new shows to advertisers in an annual spring presentation known as the upfronts, which start for the networks on Monday.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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