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And the winner of a season renewal is... American Idol. Given the success of the revival on ABC, it comes as little surprise that the alphabet network has picked it up for Season 17. American Idol made its rebooted return to television back in March. While the current season marks its first season on ABC, it is the reality competition's sixteenth season, overall. A season renewal is not the only good news for fans of the long-running series. Yes, there's more.
Season 16 judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie will all return for Season 17. As will the series' host Ryan Seacrest, who has been with the show ever since it began on Fox. The search for the United States' next music superstar is still underway. This coming Sunday's episode will find the Top 7 vying for a chance to continue on their path to be named the next American Idol.
American Idol had been off the air for two years when the ABC revival premiered. When the original run ended, the series had been on the air for 14 years. The initial ratings for the revival's premiere revealed mixed results. American Idol's ABC debut marked the lowest-rated premiere in the series' history. Nevertheless, ABC is satisfied with the show's overall numbers, and they have good reason to be. According to the network, American Idol has been averaging 9.3 million viewers on Sundays.
While fans of the original may have been skeptical when the revival was announced last year, ABC's investment seems to be paying off. Despite featuring none of the original judges, the return of Ryan Seacrest as host has provided a familiar touchstone for longtime fans. Only time will tell if the ABC version can produce major stars on par with the stars that came out of the Fox version.
Among the huge stars generated from the original series are Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks. In an interesting twist, Kelly Clarkson and fellow American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson have both been coaches on NBC's rival series, The Voice. Clarkson is currently a coach on Season 14, while Hudson was one during the series' previous season.
When American Idol returned on ABC, it aired on Sunday nights, a historically quieter and less competitive night for television. Episodes previously only aired live on the east coast, but that changed when American Idol decided to do something that hadn't been done with reality competition series in the past. Episodes began to simulcast across all time zones, which meant viewers on the west coast didn't have to wait an extra three hours to see what happens.
The ABC revival will name its first winner when the finale airs on May 21. New episodes of American Idol air Sundays, starting at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. To learn what is else is coming up on ABC and television in general, over the next several months, check out our guide to TV's summer premieres.