Murdoch talks 'Idol' at earnings conference

Has 'great expectations' but is mum on new judges

NEW YORK -- Rupert Murdoch himself promised Wednesday that Fox's revamped "American Idol" will be better this coming season and said he has high expectations, even though he wouldn't predict who the show's new judges will be.

"All I can assure you is that next year's 'Idol' will be different," he said on his conglomerate's earnings conference call Wednesday afternoon in response to a question from The Hollywood Reporter.

"It will be better, the music will certainly be better. And we got great expectations for it."

What about the show's future judges?

"We are very close to announcing who the judges will be," he said. "There are very active negotiations with a number of people."

Fox has said the 10th season's judging panel will be announced as soon as deals are signed. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are among the names in the mix to replace departing judge Ellen DeGeneres. Nigel Lythgoe is also set to return to the show next season as executive producer.