Fourth Judge Brings More Girl Power To 'American Idol'

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The biggest TV network show is making it a foursome--"American Idol" is adding a fourth judge to its celebrated lineup.

Grammy-award winning songwriter Kara DioGuardi will be joining Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson--giving the show more "girl power," according to TV producers.

Mike Darnell, president of Fox alternative programming, said in a release that Abdul has been "an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon," and that the show was looking for more balance in this area.

Initial plans for the long-running U.S. show were to have four judges, according to Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, the TV producer of "Idol." International versions have included four judges.

Last season, "Idol" ratings slipped some, but the show still retained its big rating lead over every broadcast prime-time network show. Peter Liguori, chairman of Fox Entertainment, noted that the network was considering--as it suggests every season--adding "more energy" into the show.

DioGuardi, who is younger than the three other judges, could be part of an effort to grab young viewers. Her songs have been recorded by a wide range of artists, as well as former "Idol" contestants, including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and Katharine McPhee.

"They need to change it up and make it different," says Shari Anne Brill, senior vice president and director of programming for media agency Carat USA. "They are hemorrhaging younger viewers. When you have Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton and Donna Summer, it's the grandparents who are watching."

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