The votes are in, and the decision is final: American Idol is coming back to TV… this time, on ABC.
The network has nailed down the framework of a deal to reboot the hit singing competition, according to a report from our sister site Variety. ABC had to outbid Idol‘s original network Fox to secure the right to revive the franchise, the rights to which are still controlled by production company Fremantle Media. It helps that ABC already airs two Fremantle productions: Match Game and Celebrity Family Feud.
ABC is reportedly planning a March 2018 return for Idol, to air on Sunday nights. It’s expected to formally announce the pick-up at its upfront presentation on Tuesday, May 16.
So who’ll be hosting, and judging? Ryan Seacrest is now a member of the ABC family, co-hosting Live alongside Kelly Ripa, but his return seems unlikely, since Live films in New York and Idol has always filmed in Los Angeles. Simon Cowell is definitely out, since he’s already judging talent over on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. But one Idol alum that Variety mentions as a possibility for the new judges’ table: Kelly Clarkson, the first-ever Idol winner who went on to become a multi-platinum recording artist.
Say what you will about Idol being long in the tooth, the acquisition makes sense. As TVLine’s own Matt Mitovich noted on Twitter Friday night, the singing competition’s lowest-rated, least-watched season would rank No. 2 on ABC right now (behind The Bachelor in the demo, and trailing DWTS in viewers).
UPDATE: TMZ is now reporting that the ABC deal was completed as of Friday night, with Seacrest eyed to return as host.
Got any other suggestions for the new Idol judges’ table, and host? Drop ’em in a comment below.