Acknowledging that Idol is not the ratings juggernaut that it was in its heyday (the performance show has routinely been topped by Survivor this season), Reilly said on a conference call Monday that the reality competition show will get a reduced order when it returns in 2015, going from 50-plus hours of programming to about 37.
"It's going to be streamlined," Reilly promises. "I think you'll see a two-hour format at least initially, for the audition shows. [Then] it's quite likely it'll end up being a two-hour show on one night."
Admitting that the past TV season was "a tough one for us [because] some of our returning shows just did not perform as well as expected," Reilly also discussed what he called a "particularly strong crop" of new shows that will be rolled out throughout the fall and midseason. Those include the Batman origin story Gotham, the upcoming summer show Gang Related, and the event series Gracepoint, which stars David Tennant and Anna Gunn and will have a new twist and a different ending than the BBC's Broadchurch, on which it's based, according to Reilly.
As for midseason shows, the Rainn Wilson-starrer Backstrom will likely be paired up with Bones when it premieres, and Empire — which Reilly describes as "Upstairs Downstairs in the hip-hop world" — will be partnered with American Idol.
Fox is also holding Glee until midseason for what "will be its last season, for sure," according to Reilly. While the show currently has a 22-episode order, that could change depending on how creator Ryan Murphy feels is the best way to end the show, Reilly says. (Catch up on the latest episodes of Glee here.) "There's no standard order for a show anymore," Reilly noted. "It didn't come down on stone tablets that television had to be made in 13-to-22 episode increments." As such, Sleepy Hollow's upcoming second season will consist of 18 episodes.
The schedule is part of Fox's new "year-round" programming philosophy. "We really, really want to be a 12-month network," Reilly said. "June is just as important as January."
Do you think a reduced American Idol is a good idea? And what do you think of Fox's new scheduling philosophy? Sound off below!