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'American Idol' reportedly close to finalizing deal with ABC for March 2018 revival


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/04/2017 

American Idol is reportedly likely to be revived on ABC early next year.

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According to TMZ sources connected with ABC and American Idol's production company, FremantleMedia, negotiations are underway to bring Idol back and the network is planning a March 2018 launch.

ABC reportedly made an offer on American Idol a week ago. Although a deal has yet to be signed, sources told TMZ discussions are "far along" and final details are currently being hashed out.

ABC and Fremantle are reportedly expected to ink the contract "soon" and announce Idol's return later this month when the network unveils its 2017-2018 schedule.

ABC even asked Idol executives if they could move the set of the reality singing competition from Los Angeles, CA to New York City so that Ryan Seacrest could continue serving as its host now that he's living in New York -- a move he made in order to co-host ABC's talk show Live With Kelly alongside Kelly Ripa, according to TMZ.

The idea, however, was quickly shot down, and so American Idol will resume filming in Hollywood.

Seacrest has not actually been approached to host American Idol, TMZ reported, but ABC sources say will be virtually impossible for him to take the gig given his commitment to Live with Kelly as well as his other radio, TV and producing responsibilities in the entertainment industry.

Fox has also reportedly made an offer to revive American Idol, but ABC is the leading candidate.

Reports had previously surfaced in March that Fox and NBC were in a bidding war over American Idol's return. Both networks reportedly submitted bids to Fremantle months ago but NBC was the frontrunner.

Sources familiar with the situation told TMZ at the time that NBC wanted American Idol in part to resolve its scheduling issue with The Voice, which is currently airing its twelfth season.

NBC reportedly doesn't want to oversaturate the market by continuing to air two editions of The Voice a year, so if the network won American Idol, it would rotate the former Fox reality singing competition with The Voice so that each show would air only once a year.

NBC is also home to America's Got Talent and Jennifer Lopez's upcoming reality competition World of Dance.

As for Fox, the network reportedly never gave up on American Idol but just found it too expensive to continue to produce with its high-profile talent of Seacrest and judges Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.

Fox was home to American Idol for each of its 15 seasons.

American Idol concluded in 2016 with Trent Harmon being crowned the last winner over La'Porsha Renae. The show premiered on Fox in 2002, and at the peak of its success in 2006, Idol drew an enormous 36.4 total viewers. Ratings, however, steadily declined as the show neared its end. Its final season reportedly averaged only 9.1 million viewers.

Although Season 15 was referred to as American Idol's "farewell season," Seacrest hinted at a possible revival when speaking at the Television Critics Association winter press tour last year.

"When you've got a franchise that has this kind of heritage and you've got a franchise that generates X amount of millions of people, if it sustains, does that mean it's the end?" Seacrest said. "I'm not so sure."

In addition, American Idol's Season 15 finale broadcast ended with Seacrest signing off with "Goodnight America... for now" -- an apparent reference to Idol creator Simon Fuller's then-recent admission that he expected the show would "certainly be coming back" at some point in the future.


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