American Idol is back with an updated judging panel, yet again. This season sees the return of Jennifer Lopez – one of the most popular judges in Idol history – as well as a new face, Harry Connick Jr. The show kicked off on January 15th, but you’d be forgiven for missing it – most US viewers did. Despite the updated panel, which producers hoped would breathe new life into the franchise, Season 13 has so far been the lowest rated one. 20th Century Fox COO Chase Carey spoke about Idol’s flaws to a crowd of Wall Street analysts on Thursday. The message was pretty clear – despite the renovations, American Idol’s glory days are in the past.

Jennifer Lopez, Fox TCA Winter Press Tour
Even favorite judge Jennifer Lopez can't save this sinking ship.

The Fox chief operating officer told analysts on Thursday that the decision to bring back Jennifer Lopez as a judge and add Harry Connick Jr to the mix had resulted in a show that was “much better than it was a year ago”, but one that is also showing its age (quotes via The Hollywood Reporter).

“(American Idol) is not a show that drives the whole network in the way it did in years past,” Carey said.

The message was mixed however. Carey was careful not to mention cancellation plans and instead noted that he hopes the show can continue for a few more seasons. He simply explained that the ratings will probably never reach those of earlier seasons.

Henry Connick Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. is the other new addition this season.

“Ratings for American Idol and X-Factor fell faster than we’d hoped,” Carey said, noting that in the future the shows will be “... part of a broader, diversified line-up.”

It sounds like Fox is just waiting for the right time to pull the plug on the original talent show competition. The format that essentially gave rise to an entire genre of TV is now steadily heading towards retirement.

Keith Urban, Fox Winter TCA Press Tour
Despite Idol's ups and downs, Keith Urban has held on to his place.