Well, that was a short cancellation. Just over a year after Trent Harmon was named the 15th and final American Idol winner, comes the announcement that the long-running reality singing competition is officially coming back for the 2017-18 season.
We guess we shed all of those farewell tears for nothing, huh?
While rumours have been flying for days, the news was only made official Tuesday morning, when a press release went wide confirming the show’s return.
Now that we know the show is going on, here’s a complete breakdown of what we know so far.
1. The show has a new home
For 15 long seasons American Idol was synonymous with the network that aired it: Fox. But when the show returns to TV screens it will be on another American network this time around: ABC. That’s right, the Alphabet network outbid Fox to obtain the broadcasting rights. If that isn’t a blow to Fox, which has been reviving series like The X-Files and Prison Break lately, we don’t know what is.
2. There’s still lots of life left in the show
At its height, American Idol drew more than 30 million viewers a week — that’s a number that’s unheard of these days, in the wake of streaming services and people recording shows to watch later on. Still, the last season of Idol managed to average roughly 10 million viewers a week, which is actually still really impressive. If the show pulls in those kinds of numbers for ABC, that will make it one of the highest-rated programs on the network, right up there with Dancing With the Stars. We’d say that’s worth bringing a show back for.
3. Ryan Seacrest… in?
Remember last week when Kelly Ripa announced that Ryan Seacrest is her now co-host on Live? Well his announcement as the new ABC daytime host makes so much more sense, now that we know American Idol is coming to that network. Our Spidey senses tell us that Seacrest may have brokered a bigger deal here, although as it stands the show has yet to confirm who will be hosting when the cameras click back on.
4. Another judging conundrum
One of the things Idol became known for in its later seasons was its rotating panel of judges. They ranged from memorable (Simon Cowell, Jennifer Lopez) to aggressive (Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, anyone?), and every season there were always headlines about who would be sitting at that table when the audition tour began. It looks like that may be the case again now that the show is in need of new judges. We do know that Harry Connick Jr. is pretty busy with his daytime show, Harry. And Jennifer Lopez not only has a dramatic series with Shades of Blue, but she’s about to launch a new reality competition series called World of Dance. As for Simon Cowell? Well, he’s been busy hosting America’s Got Talent, so we’d say he’s out too.
Maybe we’ll get some fresh blood? Whoever they pick, we all know they’ll have to be memorable. Adam Levine, Blake Shelton levels of memorable. Because given how much TV has changed since American Idol first started, we know this show has an uphill battle in front of it. Still, we’re kind of excited that it’s back. This is the show that gave us the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, after all. And that in itself is something to celebrate.
American Idol returns in the 2017-18 TV season.