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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
US Pop Idol gets second series
American Idol
It was one of the summer's most successful programmes
US TV network Fox is to make a second series of the pop talent show American Idol, in which would-be young singers compete for the chance of a major recording contract.

The first series "exceeded even our own expectations", said Fox entertainment president Gail Berman.


We have officially ordered the next American Idol

Gail Berman, Fox
The line-up of judges is yet to be finalised, but acerbic British music executive Simon Cowell remains a contender despite US press criticism of his treatment of the contestants.

Fox's decision is thought to have been influenced by the possibility of a Major League baseball strike, which could leave gaps in the network's autumn schedule.

The new series of American Idol will be broadcast early in 2003, according to Fox.

In the show, similar to the British prototype Pop Idol, would-be young pop stars compete for the chance of a major recording contract.

Simon Cowell
Cowell has ruffled feathers in the US
The first series has helped Fox through a season which saw the cancellation of two of the network's top series, The X-Files and Ally McBeal, after declining ratings.

American Idol has consistently finished in the top 10 US programmes each week among 18- to 49-year-old viewers - a demographic group much sought-after by advertisers.

On Sunday Ms Berman and Fox chairman Sandy Grushow also acknowledged that the potential strike by baseball players could "disrupt" the network's autumn schedule - which relies heavily on Major League baseball matches.

The union representing baseball players has not yet set a date for a strike and is still in negotiation for a new contract to replace one that expired in November 2001.

Fox also recently revealed details of the planned second season of critically acclaimed "real time" drama series 24.

The second instalment will see the return of Kiefer Sutherland's character Jack Bauer, who will once again go to the aid of David Palmer.

See also:

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