01/14/2008 at 12:00 AM EST
thinks 2008 could be a crucial season for American Idol
The WGA strike gives the show -- and other reality programs -- a chance to shine in one of TV's darkest hours, but American Idol
needs to raise its game if it's hold onto its 30 million strong audience and win new viewers, Cowell has admitted.
"I think last year just wasn't one of our better seasons," he told Variety
. "The show has got to look better. It's got to be more fun."
In the upcoming season, Idol
's producers are expected to give more air-time to competitors and their families. A good move since the Idol
alumni have faced mixed fortunes of late.
While some -- like Kelly Clarkson
, Chris Daughtry
, Carrie Underwood
and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson
-- have survived and thrived, others have been dropped by their labels like bad habits.
But Cowell remains upbeat about keeping Idol
"It's got a better cast this season," he said, adding that contestant-wise, "I will go on record as saying this is one of the strongest years we've had." --Caris Davis
Stewart Cook/Rex USA