It’s not curtains for American Idol just yet. The long-running singing competition, which has survived fourteen different judges, two different hosts, and a network swap from Fox to ABC, is returning once again for a sixth season at ABC which will mark its 21st season since it began. All of this comes as the series looks to crown a winner for its current season on May 22.
Of all the renewals ABC has handed out, American Idol may have been the biggest no-brainer for a couple of reasons. For one, ABC itself referred to the show as its top program of the season. Viewership for the series took a solid jump from last season too, going up 15% in the crucial 18 to 49 demographic across a 35-day span. What really made it an important decision for network, however, is the fact that Dancing With the Stars, their other long-running competition, was migrating to Disney+. Losing American Idol, its other staple talent competition, to the streaming side of things would’ve been a tough pill to swallow for the network.
American Idol wasn’t the lone unscripted series to get another go around. The Bachelor, Shark Tank, America’s Funniest Home Videos and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune were all among the unscripted shows brought back for another season, keeping their slate relatively intact outside their signature dancing competition.
For years, American Idol has been a mainstay in the reality competition space all while churning out some genuine stars in Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, and Jordin Sparks among others. It very nearly escaped death in 2016 when Fox chose to cancel it due to lagging ratings. ABC swooped in and picked up the series in 2017, reviving it for a continued run starting in 2018, though it hasn’t reached the same absurd heights as its heyday.
Ryan Seacrest still serves as the host of the long-running competition with Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Ritchie all in the judges’ seats as of right now. It’s not confirmed yet if those four will be back once again, but they’ve been together now since the show was brought to ABC. Season 20 did see one notable departure with Bobby Bones, one of the in-house mentors for the singers, leaving the show. Fremantle and 19 Entertainment, which is part of Sony-owned Industrial Media, produced the series for ABC.
Season 5 of American Idol on ABC is coming down to the wire with only five contestants remaining. The next episode airs on May 15 en route to the season finale on May 22.
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