A top News Corp. executive told an investor conference Thursday that Fox's "American Idol" could last for up to 17 seasons and said the network is optimistic that it can stop its ratings decline.
Speaking at the Nomura 2nd annual U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York, David Haslingden, president of the Fox Networks Group, said the network is "absolutely committed" to the music talent show, which has aired for 11 seasons. He vowed it would "throw all resources'" at improving its ratings again.
"This is still the number one non-sport show in the United States," he emphasized though. "It's delivering an average audience across this year's 55 hours of 19 million people. This is a huge powerhouse show. So, I would say that any network executive in the country or probably in the world would love to be sitting up here, saying we have this franchise and we're dealing with the fact that its ratings are off a bit."
That echoed comments from News Corp. president, COO and deputy chairman who recently said "Idol" needs tweaks to re-energize ratings, but said the show is still strong enough to continue its run on the Fox schedule.
Calling it "an American staple" with "enormous" brand loyalty, Haslingden said that "we're actually optimistic that we will arrest its ratings decline and this show is going to continue on."
How long? "We are optimistic it's going to continue on for 15, 16, 17 seasons," he said.
Haslingden also touted the potential upside that News Corp. has in terms of international TV growth and retransmission consent fees in the U.S.
He said he remains confident that his company will reach $1 billion in operating profit by fiscal year 2015.