NBC in talks to revive 'American Idol'

Ten months after ending on Fox, the franchise is reportedly in talks with NBC for a comeback.

Variety first reported the news that Fremantle Media was pitching a revival of the show to NBC. One suggestion being considered: cutting "The Voice" from two cycles a year to one.

According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, NBC has pitched a revival of the long-running reality singing competition that discovered iconic artists including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson.

American Idol was a ratings juggernaut for FOX beginning in 2002.

Its sources say NBC is the leading contender in the very early talks, emphasizing that no deal has been struck.

NBC and Fremantle declined comment. At its peak, it was a ubiquitous cultural phenomenon, averaging 36.4 million viewers in 2006, a number no longer seen on TV outside of political or sporting events.

It seems like just yesterday we were bidding farewell to the talent search of the aughts known as American Idol.

"When you've got a franchise that has this kind of heritage and you've got a franchise that generates X amount of millions of people, if it sustains, does that mean it's the end?" The Voice is NBC's most-watched non-football program (besides This Is Us) and now has two cycles a year. The 2016 fall cycle, which ended December 12, averaged a 2.5 live-plus-same day rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen overnight numbers - down 19% from the previous fall. "I'm not so sure". If NBC were to buy Idol, part of the appeal would thus be defensive: Any rival network that wants to capitalize on a pared-down Voice will have to do so with an entirely new project.

  • Ernesto Newman