ABC Looks To Restart 'Idol' Worship

TV networks are still looking to reinvent established TV brand names -- to keep their fortunes from idling. Now it turns to reality TV.

ABC said it will kick-start a new version of one of the biggest U.S. TV shows ever -- “American Idol” -- from its original producers FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment.

Fox started  “Idol” in 2002, and for the better part of a decade, it dominated the top of Nielsen viewership ranks. ABC believes this will be part of a third leg of its reality TV franchises -- complementing its “Dancing With The Stars” and “The Bachelor/Bachelorette” programming.

TV networks regularly tap into revamping TV classic programs. Recently, NBC said it would be re-starting “Will & Grace” with the original cast. Currently, CBS has done “The Odd Couple.”

CBS’ new version of “Hawaii Five-0” has been around since 2010.

Netflix has also joined the hunt, most recently with “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” and “Fuller House”  -- two highly viewed shows on the subscription video on demand platform.



However, in ABC’s case with “Idol” -- this looks to be different: a revamped reality TV show. ABC wants to get back into the singer competition game -- something Fox had with “Idol” for years, all of which went over to NBC’s “The Voice” more recently.

“Idol” was also a reality program champ when it came to grabbing massive branded advertising/entertainment deals from three major consumer product companies: Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Ford Motor Company. Big seasonal brand/ad deals rose to a price tag of around $50 million for each of those advertisers by season 10.

Still, given the current TV environment, it’s highly unlikely the show will hit those ad levels, or big dominating viewership, this time around. But given the push for growing advertising value of premium entertainment  -- and especially where these singing competition shows can run many “live” episodes -- you can see the reasoning behind ABC’s decision.

While "Idol" focused on quality singing/performances -- especially after the chuckles of the less-than-quality early season auditioners -- one of the wildcards will be finding something akin to Simon Cowell’s snarky judge commentary -- which always put viewers (and contestants) on the edge.

The original "Idol" ended April 2016 with the 15th and final season on Fox. ABC will start up the show sometime in the 2017-2018 season.

Reminiscing only after one or two years? For viewers -- and singers -- we’ll see if the heart, in reality, wants what it wants.

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