Fox puts ‘Idol’ on diet as deck gets ‘Stacked’

Net exex, 'American' producers feel skein works better in shorter format

Fox is cutting back on “American Idol” and loading up on comedies, including its new Pam Anderson laffer from producers Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman.

Net has decided to trim the Wednesday-night “Idol” results show to a half-hour, effective immediately. Decision was made in part because both Fox execs and “Idol” producers felt the results show worked better in a shorter format.

Repeats of “That ’70s Show” will air Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in the short term. Midseason laffer “Life on a Stick” is expected to go into the slot later this month.

“We want to have efficient results shows, and it’s a good programming strategy to help us launch other material,” said Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman.

“Idol” results show was always skedded to shrink to 30 minutes, but not for a few more weeks. Move to reduce its size, especially on the last Wednesday of the February sweeps, will no doubt confound critics who’ve accused Fox of overusing “Idol.”

Meanwhile, Fox is hoping the promo base of “Idol” will help it launch “Stacked,” the new Levitan-Anderson laffer that was considered a contender for a summer or fall launch.

Skein hasn’t even shot a pilot yet, but Berman said when she read the finished script and saw the cast Levitan had assembled, she and her exec team decided not to wait.

As a result, show will now premiere Wednesday, April 13 at 8:30 p.m.

“We had already made an episodic commitment to the show, and we’re on a bit of a roll right now,” Berman said. “We wanted to take advantage of that. It’s a chance to expose a couple of our comedies before we go into the summer, and it’s using our ‘Idol’ platforms well.”

“Stacked,” from 20th Century Fox TV, has Anderson playing a party girl who decides to take an offer to work in a small family-owned bookstore. Tom Everett Scott plays Anderson’s boss.

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