The "Australian Idol" TV talent quest will take a break from the airwaves this year, if unconfirmed reports are to be believed.

Network Ten, the free-to-air TV station which last year dumped its coverage of the annual ARIA Awards, is understood to be taking a "rest" from the "Idol" format in 2010.

Ratings for the Network Ten program have slumped of late, and station executives are reportedly wary that its Oct. 3-14 coverage of the Commonwealth Games would have clashed with the "Idol" season. "Idol" judge Ian Dickson added fuel to the fire when he told a News Limited publication over the weekend that his contract has not been renewed for this year's series.

The move to dump "Idol" would be an about-face for Network Ten, the station having announced back in October 2009 that the TV property would return in the latter part of this year.

"Australian Idol" is produced by FremantleMedia Australia Pty Ltd for free-to-air national broadcaster Network Ten. Representatives for both parties did not respond to requests for comment.

The buzz behind the "Idol" franchise has fizzed and fizzled since the show first exploded on the scene in 2003. The inaugural final, won by Guy Sebastian, pulled an estimated 3.34 million viewers. Sebastian and runner-up Shannon Noll have both since carved long-term recording careers which yielded multi-platinum, chart topping hits Down Under. Other series winners and high-profile contestants have disappeared without a trace.

The 2009 finale was a ratings turkey. Just 1.4 million people tuned in last October to watch Stan Walker claim the title, and the obligatory recording contract with Sony Music Australia. Walker's debut single "Black Box" bowed at No. 2 on the ARIA singles chart in late November, while the album it was lifted from - "Introducing" - opened at No. 3 in early December.

Insiders at Sony Music Australia say they have been kept in the dark on the fate of the "Australian Idol" format.

Network Ten is expected to make an announcement later in the year on whether it will revive the show for a 2011 season.