The broadcast network and the production companies have settled on a framework for an agreement to bring back the long-running singing-competition series. According to sources, the Alphabet is eyeing a March premiere for the show, which would potentially air on Sunday nights, where ABC has struggled in recent seasons against NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and programming on Fox and CBS that benefits from a strong NFL lead-in. The Alphabet is the only broadcaster of the Big Four that does not have an NFL package.
Yet to be decided is whether or how longtime host Ryan Seacrest could return to the franchise. Seacrest this week was announced as the new co-host of ABC syndicated morning program “Live!” with Kelly Ripa. He is relocating to New York for the role — a move that presents a substantial obstacle to a return as host of “Idol,” which has always filmed in Los Angeles.
ABC, which has yet to close the deal, had passed on “Idol” after hearing a pitch for it earlier this year. At that time, as Variety reported exclusively, NBC had emerged as the lead network to pick up a revival being shopped by FremantleMedia, which has insisted on a minimum 25-hour order from any broadcast partner.
But the Peacock backed away from a deal, concerned that “Idol” could negatively impact singing competition series “The Voice,” and turned off by a high asking price from the producer. The ABC deal would preclude the involvement of original judge Simon Cowell, who was rumored to be a possibility to rejoin the show at NBC, where he produces “America’s Got Talent” and has an exclusive agreement.
One potential name that has been floated to join the revived series is that of Kelly Clarkson, the singer who won the first season of “Idol” and went on to achieve pop-star status with hits such as “Since U Been Gone.”
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