9:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg
It's Official: Harry Connick Jr. Returning to 'American Idol'
It's official: Harry Connick Jr. will return to Fox's American Idol.
Connick confirmed that he'd be returning to the judges' table for the recently announced 14th season of Fox's flagship competition series during a Wednesday visit on Live! With Kelly and Michael.
After hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan inquired about his status for season 14, Connick simply said, "I'll be back."
The news comes as no surprise. As THR reported May 9, all the judges -- including Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez -- are expected to return for the upcoming run. Host Ryan Seacrest also inked a new two-year deal to return to the juggernaut. (A formal announcement from the network has yet to come.)
Auditions for season 14 of Idol will include stops in the judges' hometowns.
Speaking to reporters this week, Fox Broadcasting chairman Kevin Reilly noted that Idol -- which has experienced a significant ratings drop-off this year -- would be reduced from its 50-odd hours to 37 for season 14. He reiterated that the trio of judges is expected to return and said the plan is to have Idol on two nights a week during auditions, then as a two-hour, one-night-a-week event for the remainder of the season.