By Sandra Gonzalez
Dim the lights …”American Idol” is coming back.
ABC has reached an agreement with FremantleMedia to bring the singing competition that birthed a reality TV movement back from the dead.
The agreement comes a little more than a year after the series went off the air after 15 seasons on Fox.
ABC announced the deal on Tuesday’s “Good Morning America.” The show will be scheduled sometime during the 2017-2018 television season, possibly on Sunday nights.
It is unknown whether original host Ryan Seacrest will lead the ABC incarnation.
Seacrest is the new host of ABC’s morning talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” so he is already in the corporate family. On Monday’s “Live,” he indicated that he’s open to the possibility.
The “GMA” hosts said Tuesday that the host and the panel of judges would be announced later.
ABC is sure to tout the “Idol” revival at its annual upfront presentation for advertisers next week.
Disney Media Networks co-chairman Ben Sherwood said in a statement that “Idol” will be “bigger, bolder and better-than-ever” on ABC.
Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, said “Idol” “left the air too soon.”
“ABC is the right home to reignite the fan base,” Dungey said. “We are thrilled viewers will once again share in these inspiring stories of people realizing their dreams.”
The first few seasons of Fox’s “Idol” — with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson — changed the American television landscape. “Idol” was a ratings juggernaut for Fox, pulling in more than 38 million viewers at its peak for season two’s finale.
The series, based on the British show “Pop Idol,” was a launching pad for stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
The show’s star faded over the years. By season eleven in 2012, the average ratings for “Idol” fell below 20 million and continued to dip in subsequent seasons.
The Wednesday installments of “American Idol” drew an average of 10 million viewers in season fourteen in 2015.
About 14 million tuned in for the series finale in April 2016 — still an impressive number by almost any standard.
But Fox’s decision to retire “Idol” came as the show was increasingly criticized for failing to produce stars on par with some of its earliest — and ultimately best-known — talent.
The show was also having a harder time competing for attention with NBC’s rival singing competition “The Voice.”
It’s worth noting, however, that despite the dimming of “Idol’s” power, ABC could very much use the series on its schedule.
The ballroom competition series “Dancing with the Stars” remains a strong performer for the network, with around 10 million viewers, but it’s down from its glory days.
Meanwhile, ABC’s biggest scripted hits — like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “Modern Family” — are aging and have an undetermined number of future seasons.
ABC has also tried but failed in the past to enter into the reality singing competition genre, with shows like “The One” in 2006 and 2012’s “Duets,” with mentors Robin Thicke, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles and original “Idol” winner Clarkson.
“American Idol” will give ABC a property that’s a proven success.
A return for “Idol” had been rumored for months, and Fremantle reportedly entertained offers from NBC and Fox.
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