Fox’s head honchos clearly aren’t singing the praises of “American Idol” being revived so quickly after its farewell season.
The network’s TV chairman Dana Walden slammed production company FremantleMedia for bringing back “Idol” and selling it to ABC just one year after Fox heavily invested in a marketing campaign for the show’s final season, Entertainment Weekly reported.
“They were determined to get this show back on the air as quickly as possible,” Walden told reporters during a conference call Monday, according to EW. “We spent about $25 million sending a clear message that it was the farewell season. It felt to us it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly, that fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then having the show brought back right away.”
Walden confirmed that Fox did indeed place an offer to bring the reality singing competition back to its airwaves — where it was broadcast for 15 seasons — but ABC ultimately won the bidding war.
Fox had hoped the show’s eventual return would come later — potentially even in 2020 — according to the report.
Walden said the show was losing a considerable amount of money as its ratings dropped precipitously in the seasons before they decided to end its run on Fox. She said Fox originally proposed making changes to the series, but execs at Fremantle decided they’d prefer to just wrap up the show.
A year later, the production studio made it known it wanted “Idol” to return — but Fox wasn’t as interested as ABC in facilitating the revival.
“We thought it was too early to bring the show back,” Walden said. “All of our research and all of our fan forums supported that notion. We did not see the fan excitement and enthusiasm for the show to come back that Fremantle did. We just had a different set of facts.”
A host for the new “American Idol” has not been announced. Ryan Seacrest, who emceed the show for Fox during all 15 seasons between 2002 and 2016, has reportedly had discussions about coming back.
Seacrest was recently named Kelly Ripa’s co-host on “Live,” which films in New York. “American Idol” recorded its first 15 seasons on the other side of the country in Los Angeles.
Acclaimed “Idol” alums Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, meanwhile, were recently both named judges on competing show “The Voice,” which airs on NBC.