In Depth

Darnell Says Tweaks to 'Idol' Format Worked

Fox reality chief Mike Darnell says the network's much-hyped tweaks to the "American Idol" formula are behind the show's solid ratings debut this week.

"The creative is working," Mr. Darnell said Thursday. "People like [new judge] Kara [DioGuardi]. The word of mouth is good. … Our creative changes seem to be having an effect."

Mr. Darnell said the proof of that is the fact that, for the first time in five years, "Idol" saw its adults 18-49 ratings increase between its Tuesday and Wednesday premieres.

"People wanted to see more the next night," Mr. Darnell said.

Mr. Darnell's overall reaction to the two-night "Idol" season bow?

"I was good (Wednesday)," he said. "I'm better today."