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American Idol plotting a revival on new network

What the singing competition's return could mean for network TV

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Start looking around your closet for your big red Coke Cola cups and your "I Heart Sanjaya" shirts, because American Idol may be back on the airwaves. Now you may be asking yourself, "Wait, didn't that show just go off the air, why would they bring it back?" Well you aren't wrong about the first part. The show did wrap up its 15-season run on Fox in April 2016 when Trent Harmon (who?) was crowned the final victor. Though a far cry from the ratings juggernaut it was during the days of Carrie Underwood or Adam Lambert, the producers insisted they would explore all opportunities to keep the franchise alive, with Ryan Seacrest even ending the finale by saying "Goodnight America--for now." Now reports seem to indicate the show may have found a home on rival NBC, where original judge and producer Simon Cowell has returned to television on the long running summer reality show America's Got Talent.

Now of course, a million different things can go awry at this point to keep the reboot from materializing, especially since reports suggest there is no immediate deal in place. Still there are reasons to believe this might make sense in the current TV landscape. For starters, reboots and revivals have been dominating TV headlines of late, with everything from Gilmore Girls to 24 drawing a lot of attention for their returns. Might nostalgia help reinvigorate the property? Another key component is whether or not NBC can in fact get Cowell to return as judge, especially given the show's struggles to replace his presence after he departed in season 9. Having proven in the show's last few seasons that big name stars like Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj do not necessarily make good judges, the show would likely need to be very selective about who to include on any revival if it hopes to succeed.

There is also the question of where American Idol would fit on NBC given the presence of its one time competitor The Voice. With ratings starting to dip for the Adam Levine/Blake Shelton fronted reality show, it could make sense to reduce the show from two cycles a year to one, airing Idol as replacement to help prevent burnout. This of course is assuming people are still interested in reality singing competitions in general. Especially given the format's failure to produce major popstars like it did in Idol's first seasons, audiences may simply not care enough to tune back in. More than anything, negotiations will likely come down to dollars and whether or not Idol can return on an affordable budget. Still if today's reports are any indicator, there's reason to believe we haven't seen the last of the show or the white guy with a guitar it will inevitably crown champion.

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