Fox is planning to introduce the second season of "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" with two 90-minute specials set to air Jan. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 8:30 ET/PT, respectively. For th

Fox is planning to introduce the second season of "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" with two 90-minute specials set to air Jan. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 8:30 ET/PT, respectively. For the rest of the season, "American Idol" will appear in its regular time slots of Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Initial episodes of the series' second season will focus on auditions. Viewer voting for the season will begin Feb. 4 with one-hour competition episodes on Tuesdays and half-hour voting results episodes on Wednesdays.

The second season will mark the return of familiar faces, and will see some changes as well. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson reprise their roles as "American Idol" judges. (Radio DJ/hip-hop artist Angie Martinez, had been tapped to be a fourth judge, but quit after less than a week.) "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest also returns, but without first-season co-host Brian Dunkleman, who has exited the show. The second season will also feature a new "American Idol" correspondent, Kristin Holt, who was a semifinalist contestant from the first season.

"American Idol" has been Fox's top-rated new series of 2002; according to Nielsen Media Research, the show's first season averaged 7 million U.S. households per episode. The first-season finale on Sept. 4 was watched in nearly 13 million U.S. households.

Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, has since inked a deal with RCA Records. Her first single, the double-A side "Before Your Love/A Moment Like This" is the best-selling U.S. single of the year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. RCA has also signed runner-up Justin Guarini; his first single, "Foolish," is due for commercial release Dec. 17. Guarini's and Clarkson's debut albums are due in 2003.

Early next year, Clarkson and Guarini begin filming their feature-film debut, which has the working title "From Justin to Kelly." The movie, to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, will be a romantic comedy/musical from 19 Entertainment, the same production company behind "American Idol." With only one season under its belt, "American Idol" has also spawned a soundtrack album, concert tour, reunion TV special, home video/DVD, book, and video game.

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