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'American Idol": renewal virtually guaranteed on ABC

Posted Friday, May 4, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

There was healthy skepticism when the producers for "American Idol" decided to bring the show back on ABC just two years after Fox dropped it.

But the show has been a relative success for the network and will almost certainly be renewed for 2019. Compared to the rest of the ABC line up, "Idol" is one of its strongest performers. It pulled in 8.7 million overnight viewers last Sunday, its best since week one, and it has hurt "The Voice" a bit, though "The Voice" still pulls in more audience.

Sure, "Idol" ratings are lower than they were during the final season on Fox in 2016 but viewership in general for broadcast TV has fallen off the past two years so everything is relative.

MJ Santilli, who covers "Idol" for her blog MJ's Big Blog, noted that ABC guaranteed advertisers a 1.8 rating among 18 to 49 year olds including seven days of DVR usages. So far, ABC is easily exceeding that figure. "ABC has been winning Sunday for the first time in years," she noted. "I'm at the point where I'm taking a renewal for granted."

UPDATE: Indeed, ABC later on Friday did renew the show. Ryan Seacrest and the three judges are all returning.

"Idol" has four more episodes to go and a winner will be named in a mere 17 days. This Sunday, with songs by Prince and songs from the year they were born, will cut the numbers from seven to five. Next week, presumably, "Idol" will cut from five to three. There will be a final three for the first time the final week, which will air over Sunday and Monday.


Interestingly, eliminated contestants have been far more vocal than they have in the past. Latest case in point is top 24 semifinalist Effie Passero.

In an ADA on Reddit, she didn't hold back. She said thinks the producers have a "chosen one": Gabby Barrett and they are doing everything they can to ensure her victory. Effie also believes the real-time voting is "idiotic."

She noted also that the judges have been super non critical and didn't think much of Luke Bryan. Plus, songwriters would have had to give up the rights to all their songs if they win the "Idol" contract, which she didn't like.

Read more on MJ's Big Blog.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.