American IdolABC is reportedly the big winner in the network race to resuscitate American Idol. According to Variety and other sources, ABC-TV has locked up a deal with FremantleMedia and Core Media Group to reboot the once popular singing competition and plans to make the formal announcement at its Upfronts next week. As TMZ reported over the weekend, Fox, Idol’s original home for 15 seasons, apparently came on strong with an aggressive counter-offer at the last minute, but the ABC deal was reportedly sealed on Friday night.
abc_2013_logo_detailAccording to several sources, ABC is eyeing a March 2018 premiere for the rebooted 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.
Yet to be decided is if or how longtime Idol host Ryan Seacrest could return to the franchise. Seacrest last week was announced as the new co-host of ABC’s syndicated morning show Live with Kelly & Ryan and has relocated to New York for that gig — a move that presents a substantial obstacle to a return as host of Idol, which has always filmed in Los Angeles. Sources involved in the deal tell TMZ that Fremantle and Core, along with ABC, want Seacrest to host the show. If so, Seacrest would a) have to carve out the time in his already insane schedule and b) make two round-trip coast-to-coast flights in as many days to shoot the show each week. The ABC deal would also preclude the involvement of original judge Simon Cowell, who produces America’s Got Talent and has an exclusive agreement with NBC.