“Idol” will remain idle no more.
An exclusive report from Variety reveals that ABC has a deal in place to revive the singing competition show, which ended its 15-season run on Fox in 2016. TMZ said Saturday that the deal is complete and will be announced next week at the network’s upfronts, where new shows are showcased for ad buyers.
The new iteration of “American Idol” has a tentative premiere date of next March, potentially for Sunday nights. There’s no word yet on which musical heavy-hitters might show up as judges.
In its heyday in the mid-2000s, “Idol” pulled in numbers upwards of 20 million viewers an episode, earning a series high of 38 million viewers during the Season 2 finale with contestants Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. Ratings stumbled in the show’s later years, with the final season averaging 9.3 million viewers.
In February, Variety reported that NBC was eyeing an “Idol” reboot, but concluded that the network ultimately passed to avoid competition with its other singing competition series “The Voice,” now in its 12th season.
The biggest question for “Idol” fans remains: Would Ryan Seacrest return as host? The busiest man in show business, who just scooped up a high-profile gig as Kelly Ripa’s morning show co-host on ABC, emceed “Idol” during its 15 years on television. Seacrest also has nationally syndicated radio shows with iHeartMedia and red carpet hosting duties for E! Network, and he serves as executive producer for several reality shows.
Entertainment Tonight reports that there have been no formal discussions with Seacrest to return as host if the ABC deal goes through.