This week ABC announced that “American Idol” will return to television in the 2017-2018 season. During “Idol’s” 15 season run on Fox, the show broke a ratings record over nine consecutive seasons, and it was rated No. 1 TV show, generating more than $8 billion in ad revenue.
“American Idol” had tremendous success that in the season 2 finale and the premieres of seasons 5 through 9, it outperformed the Oscar ceremony in that same season.
But then those numbers began to sink. The show was canceled by Fox after Season 15 after the ratings had consistently dropped over the years as competitors like “The Voice” drew viewers.
The series did end on a high-note. The show finale in on April 7, 2016 drew in the highest ratings in three years, at 12.94 million viewers.
So what does ABC have to do to bring the show back to its prime?
Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, said “Idol” will need to get A-listers to sign on for the return to be a hit.
“‘American Idol’ has had an incredible impact but there are a ton of reality, competition shows now,” he explained. “First, to stand out, it has to have top-line stars, not no-name, quasi-celebrities. Like any show, scripted or unscripted, casting is the most important.”
Ron Simon, curator at The Paley Center for Media, said “Idol” producers need to tap into the right audience for the show.
“It is finding that formula for 2017-2018,” he said. “How you conceive that is something for the producers — they have been able to sustain ‘Dancing With The Stars’– my guess is this is will be some type of connection. But it is a show that has, in this splintered universe, proven to be successful. It is finding that right chemistry and formula.”
According to Variety, ABC will air 40 hours of “Idol.”
Rumors have swirled that Ryan Seacrest is in talks to return as the host, but he recently signed on to be the new co-host of “Live!”
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.