A one-hour series, American Idol Rewind will premiere in weekend syndication beginning in September 2006. Starting with a 26-episode run of American Idol's first season, Rewind will "enhance" the show's original Fox broadcasts, repacking and "streamlining" the broadcasts to include never-before-seen previously shot footage (including Idol 1 winner Kelly Clarkson's original audition), additional behind the scenes facts and details, and new footage that will focus on how key contestants got through the competition.
"American Idol Rewind capitalizes on an extensive library of the country's #1 show to offer fans the opportunity to revisit some of their old favorites," said American Idol creator Simon Fuller. "This is the first time the country can now track each winner throughout the season -- from beginning to final performance."
Since Fox added more broadcasts for American Idol's subsequent seasons, so will the syndicated show, with Daily Variety noting that Fox ended up broadcasting as many as 45 episodes of Idol's later seasons.
While the show was just formally unveiled yesterday, American Idol Rewind has already been sold to all the television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and both Fox and Tribune themselves, resulting in the show already being scheduled to air in 55% of the United States and nine of the country's ten biggest television markets. Come September, Tribune expects that American Idol Rewind will be available in more than 90% of the country.
Although several long-running reality shows have been sold into syndication during the last year, the announcement means that American Idol will join Fear Factor as one of the few repeat syndication reality shows available to local over-the-air television stations (other major shows like The Amazing Race, America's Next Top Model and Survivor have instead opted for cable syndication, with networks such as GSN, VH1, and OLN acquiring their broadcast rights.)