The growing market for reality TV is being blamed for a drop in the number of roles available to actors in the US.
American Idol is classed as an unscripted show
There were 3,500 fewer roles for its members in 2004, while the number of reality TV shows rose by 46%, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) reported.
Its survey, compiled from data sent in by producers, showed a 10% decline in the number of roles in TV series.
But there was a small increase in the number of big screen credits available, equivalent to an extra 240 jobs.
SAG said the four main US networks - CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox - scheduled an average 5.1 additional hours of "non-scripted" shows last year.
These included reality, sports, magazine and variety programmes.
Earning a living
"The statistics this year are again disturbing and the industry must begin to address this downward trend," newly elected SAG president Alan Rosenberg said.
"The displacement of scripted series by reality programming continues to be a severe obstacle to a working actors ability to earn a living," he said.
He added the union would be fighting the decline in roles in TV series.
The statistics showed that the majority of the losses were for white actors, with 2,127 fewer jobs than the previous year.
There was also a downturn in the number of black and Latino actors employed, while there was actually a rise in the hiring of Asian and Pacific Island actors, up by 21%.
While there was a 3.9% rise in the number of SAG members winning big screen jobs in 2004, to 6,395, this was still significantly lower than the high of 12,000 jobs offered to members in 2000.