American Idol was once the pinnacle of reality TV, and it brought huge ratings to Fox week in and week out. The show waned in popularity after a while, however, and it came to an end back in 2016. Recently, there has been chatter about a possible reboot of the series... but not on Fox. NBC has been pitched as the prospective home for a new American Idol. Now, NBC Entertainment's Alternative and Reality president Paul Telegdy has revealed where NBC stands on a possible reboot, explaining this:
I moved to America in 2004, and Idol was at its absolute juggernaut height. We admired it and feared it. It was a game-changer. If one of those shows comes up for sale, you have to think about it. But The Voice is strong and beloved, so if we were to do Idol, we would have to have a strong reason. Talk to the people at FremantleMedia. They'll make no secret that they have ambitions to restart that show.
There has actually been talk of a second version of American Idol since before the first version even came to an end, with both creator Simon Fuller and longtime host Ryan Seacrest believing that a reboot could be possible. Evidently the production company FremantleMedia is game to bring the show back as well. According to Paul Telegdy, the legacy of Idol and its history of success over its fifteen seasons means that he'd have to consider trying to bring it to NBC.
That said, NBC already has a singing competition show in The Voice, and The Voice has been holding its own with two seasons per year. American Idol and The Voice were actually competitors back when they were both still on the air, and it's a bit hard to imagine both existing on the same network.
As it happens, however, Paul Telegdy also revealed in his chat with THR that there could be a way for NBC to incorporate both The Voice and American Idol into its lineup without inundating its weekly schedule with singing contests, saying this:
The Voice has been a phenomenon that nourishes this place in a big, big way. And at the same time, everyone involved in it -- people that work 52 weeks a year on The Voice -- have been on a treadmill, and we can't let them off. I'd love to alleviate that at some point.
NBC could simply stop producing two cycles of The Voice per year and alternate between The Voice and American Idol. A single cycle of The Voice would give the team the chance to step back from constant production, and it could help get an American Idol reboot off to a strong start. When viewers who have gotten used to two cycles of The Voice suddenly find themselves with only one, they might naturally be attracted to NBC's other singing competition show.
Ratings for The Voice have been declining in recent years, so it's possible that mixing up the lineup could be the way to hook viewers back in. A single season per year would feel more like an event worth making the time to tune into live. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Cutting one of the Voice cycles could actually work in NBC's benefit.
We'll have to wait and see. NBC has had a bit of trouble on the reality front lately thanks to the disappointing (and very heavily-publicized) ratings of Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure as Apprentice host, so the network might not be looking to shake things up too much in the near future.
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