NEW YORK – ABC announced a deal Tuesday to revive “American Idol,” only a year after the powerhouse music competition aired its 15th and last season on Fox.
The show that dominated television in the 2000s and minted stars like Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson will be back sometime during the next TV season. That season starts in September, but the return of “Idol” will likely come later. Fox generally premiered each new season in January.
ABC, which agreed with producers FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment on the reboot, released few details, including whether longtime host Ryan Seacrest will return.
“American Idol” was television’s No. 1 series for nine years, peaking with 30 million viewers an episode in 2006. By its last season the average audience had dipped to 11 million and skewed older, and NBC’s “The Voice” surpassed it in popularity. Still, in today’s television world, an audience of 11 million would rank it among TV’s top 20 shows.
“ ‘American Idol’ is a pop-culture staple that left the air too soon,” said Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president. “ABC is the right home to re-ignite the fan base.”
In “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC already has a competition show that has remained popular while primarily attracting older viewers.
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban were the judges when “American Idol” went off the air. The show’s iconic judges were the first: villain Simon Cowell, his sparring partner Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
ABC recently hired Seacrest to be co-host with Kelly Ripa on the daytime talk show “Live,” so he’s already in the corporate family – although “Live” is shot in New York and “Idol” is California-based. Seacrest, on the talk show Monday, said he had only learned of the revival last week when he read a news story about it and made a call.
“I said at the end of the series, ‘goodbye for now,’ hoping that somewhere it would come back,” Seacrest said.
He played coy when Ripa encourage him to return as host.
“Whatever you want,” he joked. “You’re my work wife. I say ‘yes’ and bow to you.”
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