A new report from TMZ suggests that American Idol is coming back, and will premiere on ABC some time early next year. So what can longtime fans, as well as newer fans, expect from the rebooted Idol once it returns?
Expect Ryan Seacrest to come back as host
According to TMZ‘s exclusive report on the American Idol ABC reboot, both ABC and Idol co-owners Fremantle and Core want Ryan Seacrest to return as the show’s host. The 42-year-old Seacrest has been a mainstay of Idol from the start, co-hosting the first season with comedian Brian Dunkleman in 2002, and hosting the show on his own from the second season onward.
However, time management may serve as a potential challenge for Ryan, who on Monday began his stint as co-host of Live! With Kelly Ripa. He’s also remaining on iHeartRadio, according to a report from Radar Online that suggests Seacrest has re-upped with the internet radio provider to the tune of a three-year, $73 million deal. And while the iHeartRadio gig might not affect Seacrest’s availability for Idol, ABC’s rumored plans for the American Idol reboot to run on Mondays opposite The Voice could pose a problem. Live! With Kelly Ripa is shot in New York, while Fremantle has reportedly been insistent on having the reboot take place in Los Angeles.
A previous report from TMZ clarified that Ryan Seacrest and ABC have yet to discuss a potential American Idol hosting gig, but with both ABC and Fremantle seeing him as the “franchise,” chances remain good that he may be back to host the reboot.
Will the classic Randy/Paula/Simon judging lineup return?
Although many men and women have made up the three-person (occasionally four-person) American Idol judging panel, three judges arguably stand out as all-time favorites, especially among longtime fans – Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. An op-ed from Vulture published shortly before the original series’ last episode in 2016 posited that Cowell’s departure in particular triggered the “series of unfortunate events” that led to the show’s downtick in ratings, as well as a general lack of interest from viewers.
At this point in the game, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be judging American Idol on ABC. But at the time NBC was still reportedly among the contenders to carry the reboot, Radar Online reported that NBC was dogged in its pursuit of Kanye West, as it hoped to convince the rap superstar to join the panel of judges. The report added that hiring back some of the people who helped make Idol a popular singing competition was “not a top priority” at that time, which suggested that NBC was not too keen in inviting Cowell, or even his fellow “classic era” judges Abdul and Jackson.
If TMZ‘s sources are on the level, and American Idol is indeed coming back on ABC, the network’s priorities may be different when it comes to choosing the panel of judges. And, as a recent Inquisitr report suggested, many Idol fans are only interested in watching the reboot if the original Randy/Paula/Simon lineup returns. Can ABC pull it off? As of now, it’s still too early to tell.
How did ABC get the American Idol reboot, and when will it debut?
According to Variety, ABC withstood an “aggressive” challenge from original Idol network Fox, which had aired the show for 15 seasons, from 2002 to 2016. Just as recently as yesterday, reports were suggesting that Fox’s counter-offer was “richer” than what ABC had presented. That means ABC might have had something extra up its sleeve, assuming it wasn’t able to offer a better deal financially before TMZ published its latest report today.
While specifics of what had convinced Fremantle to go with ABC remain unclear, the onus will be on ABC to do better than Fox did during the original series’ last few seasons. American Idol was, for eight consecutive seasons starting in 2003-04, the top-rated television program on Fox, but the 2010s saw ratings go from fantastic to merely solid, with the 15th season in 2016 drawing a 2.2 rating and 9.1 million viewers.
The American Idol reboot on ABC is expected to be announced officially later this month, with the premiere date rumored to be sometime in March, 2018.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]