American Idol has been off the air for over a year now, so it was quite a surprise to find that ABC has purchased the rights to the show, planning for a reboot in 2018. With the announcement of the reboot, the news also comes that Katy Perry has already signed on to the show as the first judge, with other judges yet to be decided.
American Idol Judge and Host Selection
ABC executives have declared they have learned some lessons from the failure of the previous incarnation of the show on NBC, and plan to keep the show fresh with a new batch of contemporary judges and contestants. It’s no secret that the last few versions of American Idol, or even Fox’s The Voice for that matter, have failed to create any big stars who have gone onto later success. The credibility of AI as a singing show may now be quite low, but you could also say that the credibility of The Bachelor as a dating show is also very low, given the huge failure in the number of marriages, which is its expected result. It may be that the whole singing competition genre is now exhausted, and viewers have tired of the format, but ABC executives believe that there is still some life left in the old dog yet, and intend to wring it out of the old mutt.
Ryan Seacrest Pushes For NYC Taping
It has been reported that Ryan Seacrest is the front-runner for the hosting job on the reboot of American Idol, but given the break with the traditional format of the show, and how poor the ratings were at the end of the NBC era with Seacrest at the helm, this does not seem to make sense. The success or failure of this reboot will rest upon the choice of host and judges, and using Seacrest as host may doom the show to a ratings failure. Added into the mix is the fact that Seacrest has recently joined Kelly Ripa on Live, which is also on ABC, and the ongoing taping for that show is expected to stay in NYC. Nevertheless, Ripa’s representative does not rule out her moving to Hollywood for the right price, which would allow Seacrest to host both Live! and American Idol in LA. It’s also not forgotten that Seacrest’s American Idol escape hatch, Knock Knock Live, was a ratings disaster.
Assuming that the NYC taping for Live remains as a requirement for both Ripa and Seacrest, execs at ABC and Freemantle have both expressed the possibility of actually shooting the show in NYC, but as all TV industry insiders know, it costs twice as much to shoot in NYC than it does in LA, and that could bankrupt the show right out of the gate. Shooting the show in NYC may be valuable to the hosts and judges, but “You’re going to New York City!” does not have the same ring as “You are going to Hollywood, baby!” Increased costs with little or no increase in ratings may make the decision to shoot in NYC out of the question of financing, although the show does travel around the country for the first part of the season, where the cost will be the same. Also, getting a fixed studio in NYC is next to impossible; for instance, last season’s America’s Got Talent shot in nine separate locations in NYC throughout its run, which made the logistics very complicated and the production costs sky-high. The only advantage the producers have is a whole year to prepare for a show that they have essentially done before, for 15 seasons to be exact.
ABC Execs May Push For Interesting Set of Judges on American Idol
To divorce themselves from the previous troubled incarnation of the show on NBC, ABC execs may push for a wilder set of judges around Katy Perry; these could include foul-mouthed Madonna, a currently-mentally-stable Britney Spears, Katy Perry’s ex-boyfriend John Mayer or ex-husband Russell Brand. The choice of Brand could well create a Simon Cowell/Paula Abdul dysfunctional family scenario that was often more interesting than the show itself. There is no word yet from Perry’s rep if she would bail if either of her two exes came on board, although the contract does not appear to stipulate a clause that covers this.
The Kardashian clan has expressed an interest in boarding the show as a judge, but with so many other non-musical celebrities having tried their hand on AI, only to miss the mark, this choice seems unlikely. The season when Ellen DeGeneres occupied the judge seat is now best forgotten and has become a cautionary tale. Other choices for a NYC show judge could include AGT cast-off Howard Stern and SNL favorite Melissa McCarthy. Kelly Clarkson could have been a judge on the reboot, but she recently became a judge on AI‘s arch-nemesis, The Voice. It seems that Brian Dunkelman, the original co-host of American Idol, is the only person not up for consideration, and he might very well be the very best choice.
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