The original singing competition is returning to the airwaves, as ABC announced via press release on Tuesday morning that it will be relaunching "American Idol" for a 16th season to air sometime in the 2017-2018 TV season. That means "Idol" will return either this fall or next spring as it moves to ABC from FOX, which launched the brand (and a genre) back in 2002.
ABC didn't announce any specifics about the new season of "Idol" on Tuesday, including who will be the host or judges. Ryan Seacrest served as the host for the show's entire run, yet last week just accepted a job as Kelly Ripa's new co-host on what is now "Live With Kelly & Ryan." Seacrest discussed the issue on Monday's episode of "Live" and you can watch what he had to say about returning to his former job by using the media player included with this article. (It's worth noting that "Live" is owned by ABC, and that "The Voice" host Carson Daly already pulls double duty contributing to NBC's morning show "Today.")
Who could be the show's new panel of judges? Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban were the last judges for "American Idol" on FOX. However, Lopez is now busy with rival NBC, hosting and producing the upcoming "World of Dance" as well as starring in crime drama "Shades of Blue" and the upcoming musical "Bye Bye Birdie." Connick currently has his own daytime talk show "Harry." It would seem like the judging panel would be too busy to return, but Lopez is on record as saying she missed her judging duties and common sense suggests that ABC wouldn't have renewed "Idol" without an idea of what talent would be behind the table.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from Tuesday's news, though, is that ABC finally has the singing competition it's been dying for. The network tried for years to launch a rival to "Idol" and "The Voice" and never succeeded, including "Rising Star" and "Duets," which actually had "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson as one of its stars. Now it has a proven brand that has only been off the air for just over a year. The original series finale of "Idol" aired on April 7, 2016.
Will audiences come back to the show they haven't really even had time to forget? Are they ready for renewed competition between "Idol" and "The Voice"? And will the new "Idol" be expected to turn out more stars like Clarkson immediately? The return of "American Idol" is definitely a story for music fans to keep their eyes and ears on.
"American Idol" debuts on ABC in the 2017-2018 season.