"American Idol" will refocus on strong talent in this coming season as it looks to revive its ratings, Michael Ferrel, CEO of owner CKX Inc., said Monday.

"We want to refocus 'Idol' on its talent," he told analysts on the company's quarterly earnings call. He highlighted that ratings, particularly among the key 18-49 demo, declined more strongly at the end of the previous season.

The audition process for the coming 10th season that started last month has averaged 13,000 candidates, executives said.

Overall, Ferrel said he feels that "Idol" is better positioned this season thanks to the return of Nigel Lythgoe as executive producer and a new deal with Universal Music Group, which will help with music selection and the like.

CKX management also said that talks with various candidates for the role of "Idol" judges and with possible acquirors of CKX continue.

An announcement on the judges front is likely to come no later than mid-September, they suggested without discussing specific names.

Discussing a possible sale of CKX, CFO Tom Benson said dialogue with several potential suitors, including founder Robert Sillerman, are ongoing. He didn't mention whether "Idol" creator Simon Fuller was still in the running, but said a decision should come in the "not too distant future." Sources have said that CKX could decide on a sale by November.