Australia's Got Talent ... axed or not?

The Seven Network will make drastic changes to Australia's Got Talent if it returns next year, shedding at least one of its celebrity judges.

This year's season of the show - the sixth since it started in 2009 - was pummelled in the ratings by Nine's juggernaut The Voice. Its soft performance left many speculating whether Seven would bring it back at all.

Australia's Got Talent did not feature prominently in Seven's 2013 program launch in Sydney on Tuesday night and sources say it has not been identified as a priority for the network's sales department in the first half of next year.

A final decision has not yet been made, but it is believed Seven is looking to see if it can be revamped rather than cancelled.

A Seven spokeswoman said only that "the show has to evolve and that process is underway".

If it does return, however, it is understood Seven will replace some or all of the judges. It is understood Brian McFadden will not return.

A final decision has not been made about Kyle Sandilands, though his connection to the marketing power of the Austereo radio group will undoubtedly influence any move by Seven.

Sources say the show's longest serving judge, Dannii Minogue, would most likely return.

Last year, Minogue signed a two-year play-or-pay deal. That means that Seven is obligated to pay her, whether they use her or not.

It would not be the first time Seven has replaced the judging line-up for the show.

McFadden and Sandilands were recruited in 2010 to replace Tom Burlinson and Red Symons who, with Minogue, launched the show in 2007.

Seven also considered replacing McFadden for the show's 2012 season.

Sources say Little Britain star comedian David Walliams, who serves as a judge on Britain's Got Talent, was the most likely contender for the gig at that time.

Cancelling the show entirely is an unlikely scenario, though Seven has launched a full schedule for 2013, including several new series, which does not feature Australia's Got Talent.

The X Factor and Dancing with the Stars both featured prominently at Seven's program launch in Sydney this week. The X Factor is currently delivering strong ratings wins across the week.

Dancing with the Stars, however, was damaged badly by Nine's scheduling of The Voice in the same way as Australia's Got Talent.

Another option Seven may consider is that if Australia's Got Talent returns, it could more closely copy the UK format of the show, which has a much shorter run but is scheduled across multiple weeknights.

Most seasons of the UK version, Britain's Got Talent, do not run longer than two months.

That move may prove a boon for Seven, as audiences have demonstrated they are frustrated by particularly long-running programs, or networks which are perceptibly milking a successful program.

The 2012 season of Australia's Got Talent, in particular, was let down by the length of its season. It included eight weeks of semi-finals, two weeks of "grand final showdowns", a grand final "performance show" and a grand final "decider".

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