Back in the 2000s, TV saw the rise to dominance of reality programming, with both broadcast and cable networks seemingly in a mad dash to greenlight any and all reality shows they could get their hands on. While the reality genre persists today, it’s far from the juggernaut it once was, which the majority of the most popular shows on TV now back to being scripted programs. Still, for a time, the American public was eating up reality TV content at a pace almost faster than it could be produced.
One of the first reality programs to really hit it big was FOX’s American Idol, which – classic shows like Star Search notwithstanding – basically gave birth to the talent competition sub-genre of reality TV. While most of the winners of Idol have since faded into obscurity, the series was immensely popular for the majority of its 15-season run, and was one of the crown jewels of FOX’s line-up. Of course, all things must eventually end, and American Idol’s reign on top was no different.
Over its last few years on the air, American Idol saw its ratings fall lower and lower, slowly but surely getting to the point where the series’ high production costs were no longer being justified by its worth to advertisers. With that in mind, it wasn’t too surprising when FOX announced that 2016’s season 15 would be Idol’s last, a fact that was heavily promoted both prior to and during the season. However, just because FOX doesn’t want anymore Idol, doesn’t necessarily mean a competing network doesn’t. According to Deadline, Idol’s producers are in early talks to revive the series over on NBC.
The above news comes less than a year after Idol aired its purported series finale, although production company Freemantle Media and creator Simon Fuller reportedly began pitching a revived version of the show to other outlets prior to the final FOX episode even airing. A firm deal is not yet hammered out, but a good possibility apparently exists that NBC will decide to pick Idol up for season 16, which would likely air in 2018.
Should a deal go through, it would unite the three biggest reality talent competition series under the NBC banner, as the network already airs both The Voice and America’s Got Talent. That could potentially offer NBC the interesting opportunity to put original Idol judge Simon Cowell – currently a judge/producer on AGT – back onto the judging panel of the show that his brutally honest criticisms helped make famous. One does wonder though if even those who stuck with Idol to the end will be up for a return so quickly, Cowell or no Cowell.