Auditions for "American Idol" scheduled for Monday (Sept. 5) in Memphis have been canceled, with producers citing the extensive Hurricane Katrina relief efforts being coordinated in the city.

Auditions for "American Idol" scheduled for Monday (Sept. 5) in Memphis have been canceled, with producers citing the extensive Hurricane Katrina relief efforts being coordinated in the city.

A Fox network spokesperson said the auditions planned at the FedEx Forum won't be rescheduled so the city "can focus public safety efforts on the victims."

Auditions are still scheduled for Denver on Sept. 11 and Chicago on Sept. 16. The next season of "American Idol" will begin in January 2006.

Paul Sloan, vice president of creative services at local Fox affiliate WHBQ-TV, said producers made the decision yesterday afternoon. He said he raised the idea of coordinating the auditions with a fundraiser for victims, but it was ruled out.

"Obviously we're disappointed like everyone is," Sloan told the Commercial Appeal newspaper. "But I think everyone would agree that we didn't want to do some happy 'Hey, look: "American Idol" has come to town!' [story] while covering hurricane victims."

City officials estimate more than 10,000 Katrina evacuees are in the Memphis area, staying at hotels or with friends or relatives. Producers said they hoped auditions could return to Memphis next season. Another audition city for this season will be announced shortly.


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