'American Idol's return official -- ABC announces show will air in 2017-2018 season
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/09/2017
American Idol is officially being revived by ABC -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it!
ABC has announced the network is bringing back American Idol for the 2017-2018 season.
ABC finalized a deal with Idol's production companies FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of Core Media Group, to air the show again, but its host and judges will be revealed at a later date.
"American Idol on ABC... that has a nice ring to it," Disney Media Networks co-chairman Ben Sherwood said in a statement.
"Idol is an entertainment icon, and now it will air where it belongs, in ABC's lineup of addictive fan favorites alongside Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. America, get ready for the return of a bigger, bolder and better-than-ever Idol."
"American Idol is a pop-culture staple that left the air too soon," added ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. "ABC is the right home to reignite the fan base. We are thrilled viewers will once again share in these inspiring stories of people realizing their dreams."
ABC's announcement follows weeks of speculation in regards to American Idol's potential return and the network that would give it a home. The CEO of Core Media Group, Peter Hurwitz, said the rumors demonstrate "just how popular and powerful this brand remains."
As previously reported, both Fox -- which aired all 15 seasons of American Idol, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, beginning in 2002 -- and NBC were in a bidding war over the reality singing competition. According to TMZ, Fox also made a huge, "over-the-top offer" at the last minute to win Idol back, but ABC still came out ahead.
"ABC's passion and enthusiasm make them a perfect home for American Idol," said Fremantle Media Group CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz.
"We are excited to be partnering with them to discover the next generation of talented artists. It's an irresistible combination that means now is the ideal time to welcome back one of the most successful shows in the history of contemporary television."
Variety reported earlier this week that ABC will be looking to debut a brand new season of American Idol in March 2018 and air the show on Sunday nights. Fremantle allegedly insisted on a minimum 25-hour order from any broadcast partner when negotiations were still underway.
Whether Seacrest will return to host American Idol remains uncertain given he recently moved from Los Angeles, CA -- where Idol is filmed -- to New York City in order to co-hostLive with Kelly alongside Kelly Ripa for ABC. Seacrest also has other radio, TV and producing responsibilities in the entertainment industry.
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At the peak of Idol's success in 2006, the series 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.
According to ABC, Idol's discovered talent has already won a total of 14 Grammy awards, two Golden Globe awards, and one Academy Award. The group of contestants have also sold more than 60 million albums, resulting in more than 80 platinum records.