Stephen Carter wrote a book in 1994 called "The Confirmation Mess" in which he made some modest proposals for reforming the process. Other scholars and commissions have studied the process as well and have made interesting suggestions for making it more respectful and relevant. But nothing has come of those recommendations. It is highly unlikely that the process would return to the pre-1954 practice and I don't believe anyone is seriously considering it.
The media, special interest groups and ideologically driven senators and presidents are all responsible for the process we have today. I doubt that the senators would be willing to give up their opportunity to appear before national and local television cameras. But there is also something to be said for having a nominee appear before the public. The Supreme Court is a public institution and, I think, it is not too much to ask of someone who will get a lifetime appointment to the most important court we have, to appear before the public and to answer questions about his or her approach to judging.
After sitting through many of these hearings, I do wish there were some way to improve the questioning. The first two days are usually consumed by opening statements from 19 committee members -- a huge waste of time and purely a television moment for each of them. Perhaps we would learn more about a nominee and the process would be less painful for that nominee if just four senators -- two from each party -- did the questioning, drawing upon their colleagues' interests and concerns. But I'm not optimistic that anything will change.
Thank you for your good question!