Conceding that the glory days of "American Idol" are in the past, Fox Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly said Monday the series will shrink by more than a third next season, and probably air only one night a week.
Nonetheless, Reilly -- who also announced the fall 2014 lineup -- also sought to dispel recent speculation that ratings-anemic "Idol" was now on borrowed time, telling reporters, "It's not going to come back and be the ratings champ it was, but it will come back for many years to come as a potent time-period show."
The practical impact of "Idol's" decline on Fox, however, is considerable. For the first time in memory, the network did not lay out a spring lineup at the same time it announced the fall one. For years, Fox had built its entire spring around the once-massive hit, which has long consumed as much as three hours a week, and during its heyday, four hours.
Instead, the network will launch some of its most important new series, like "Empire" -- the Terrence Howard drama about a hip-hop music mogul and his family, or "Backstrom," the Rainn Wilson cop drama -- at some still-to-be-determined point next year.
How "Idol" will be reformatted next year was left unsaid. Reilly said "Idol" will air a total of 37 hours next season, down from nearly 60 hours this season.
Separately, Fox will launch the much-anticipated "Gotham," the new "Batman" origins series on Mondays in the fall. "Glee" -- ending after next year -- will arrive midseason.
Here's the Fox lineup:
MONDAY: "Gotham" (8 p.m.), which will mostly focus on the story of Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), and will explore the early stories of famed Batman villains, from Catwoman to the Riddler; "Sleepy Hollow" (9).
TUESDAY: "Utopia" (8), an unscripted series about people attempting to launch a utopian community; "New Girl" (9); "The Mindy Project" (9:30).
WEDNESDAY: "Hell's Kitchen" (8); "Red Band Society" (9), a drama set in a hospital, starring Octavia Spencer.
THURSDAY: "Bones" (8); "Gracepoint" (9), the adaptation of the British crime drama, "Broadchurch," with David Tennant (who also starred in "Broadchurch") and Anna Gunn of "Breaking Bad."
FRIDAY: "MasterChef Junior" (8); "Utopia" (9).
SATURDAY: College football
SUNDAY: "NFL on Fox" (7); "The OT" (7:30); then "Bob's Burgers" after football ends; "The Simpsons" (8); "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30); "Family Guy" (9); "Mulaney" (9:30), a sitcom starring standup John Mulaney and Martin Short.