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'American Idol' revival -- ABC president: Now is "the perfect time" to bring it back

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/16/2017 

American Idol's quick revival was a fantastic idea, at least according to ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey.

"From where we sit, we feel like it's the perfect time to bring this series back," Dungey said during a Tuesday media conference call, according to Variety.

"What I love about it personally is that it's about heartfelt, uplifting stories of people who make their dreams come true. And honestly, that's our sweet spot at ABC."

Dungey defended ABC's decision to bring the show back in 2018 right on the heels of Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden saying it would have been "extremely fraudulent" for Fox to revive the series so soon after airing its alleged "farewell season" in 2016, which the network had put a lot of time, money and resources into, according to Reuters.

ABC outbid Fox and NBC for American Idol, produced by FremantleMedia North America and Core Media Group, and announced its decision to pick up another season earlier this month.

Fox had been home to the reality singing competition for all 15 of its prior installments beginning in 2002, so Walden called it a "tough" loss. Fox had reportedly been planning on an American Idol revival in 2020 after a meaningful rest period.

"We felt that our fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then have the show brought back right away," Walden had told reporters, Reuters reported. "[Fox executives] did not see the fan excitement."

But in the end, ABC's vision for a fast turnaround of American Idol reportedly resulted in an opportunity for the show's production companies that they simply couldn't turn down.

According to recent reports, pop icon Katy Perry and rocker Chris Daughtry -- a former Idol finalist -- will likely serve as judges on the revamped season of American Idol. Ryan Seacrest is also expected to reprise his role as host.

Perry reportedly entered negotiations with ABC only after NBC confirmed Idol favorites Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson had signed contracts to serve as coaches on upcoming seasons of NBC's rival The Voice reality singing competition.

"We are in a number of key conversations, but we don't have anything to announce on that at this time," Dungey said of ABC's current status with casting, according to Variety.

Dungey did reveal, however, American Idol fans can expect the show will have a new look and feel when it returns next year.

"In terms of format changes to make it feel fresh, absolutely," Dungey told reporters. "This is going to be ABC’s version of American Idol, so we are very excited. I think you guys will see when we unveil our version of the show that it is going to have a very clear ABC hallmark and brand on it at that point."

The ABC president also admitted the network didn't exactly jump on the chance to claim American Idol at first.
"Some of the ideas that were discussed in the initial proposals kind of didn't feel like they made sense for us," Dungey reportedly explained.

"But that was just an early, preliminary inquiry. Once we sat down with Fremantle and Core to engage in serious conversations, I think we realized what a perfect fit this could be for us."

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