The iconic singing competition series American Idol is closing in on a comeback tour. Last year, FOX canceled American Idol after 15 years on the air due to consistent declining ratings and viewership. At one point, the series was bringing in just under 40 million viewers per week – making it one of the top shows on television – but by the time it ended in 2016, the reality show was averaging around only ten million viewers. Still, there have been talks of a continuation ever since it went off the air.
We first heard of an American Idol revival back in February, when reports suggested that production company Freemantle Media and series creator Simon Fuller were in early talks to bring back the contest at NBC after FOX had passed on the revival. Now it appears that discussions never got past the early stages (because Idol could potentially cannibalize ratings for The Voice), but that doesn’t mean other networks won’t be interested.
Variety reports that ABC has a deal in place to bring back the competition series in March of 2018, with a plan to air the show on Sunday nights. The trade reports that the network originally passed on the revival earlier this year, but has since decided to take another look. It was part of a contingency plan in case the now-cancelled Writer’s Guild of America strike negatively affected their current lineup, but the report suggests it might still be carried through. There is currently no word on if Ryan Seacrest will return to host the revival, should ABC’s deal go through, but Kelly Clarkson is reportedly being courted to join the panel of judges.
Seacrest – a television and radio personality who previously hosted all 15 seasons of American Idol when it was at FOX – has enjoyed a successful career post-Idol, and Clarkson, who was crowned the winner of Idol’s very first season, has gone on to top the Billboard charts over a hundred times. Having her return to the series as a judge for the revival would be like coming full circle.
Aside from Clarkson, several would-be artists attained global fame merely by appearing on the reality series even without winning; people like Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Clay Aiken, among many others, all carried successful careers in the music industry following their appearances on American Idol. Then there were a few people who achieved infamy, such as William Hung, whose performance of “She Bangs” turned him into a national star.
Of course, a significant part of American Idol‘s success came from the judges – particularly Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and of course, Simon Cowell. The trio made the show what it was in its early days, and its success revolutionized the FOX network; it was once heralded as being the most impactful series in the history of television. While that certainly may be true in regards to reality television, there are plenty of shows that can equally be considered as poignant. Still, ABC undoubtedly wants to capture some of the series’ early success with the proposed revival.