American Idol Reportedly Suspends Season 18 Due To Coronavirus

The spread of the coronavirus has resulted in delays, suspensions, and outright cancellations in the entertainment industry, and now American Idol has seemingly joined the many other TV shows that have stopped plans for production in light of the pandemic. American Idol has reportedly suspended Season 18 just weeks before the live broadcasts were set to begin.

Prep work on the live shows with finalist rehearsals has been suspended for American Idol Season 18 with contestants being sent home, according to Deadline, which further reports that the decision comes courtesy of Idol production company Fremantle following new guidelines in Los Angeles designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. Guidelines for slowing the spread include prohibiting large gatherings and measures like social distancing and keeping six feet away from other people.

The decision to suspend prep work for the live performance shows isn't the only one that has reportedly been made by Fremantle for American Idol, with remote editing on the remaining Season 18 episodes that were pre-taped. Considering that the first live show was scheduled for March 30, an American Idol suspension coming on the heels of so many other TV productions coming to a halt likely won't surprise too many people.

That said, the decision to suspend reportedly comes after plans had already been made to film the live performances without an audience, but the pandemic situation is changing and escalating quickly enough that proceeding would be tricky and potentially dangerous.

The show does presumably have plenty of pre-taped footage, which raises the possibility of some more episodes being put together before American Idol Season 18 runs out of content if production does not resume sooner rather than later. Similar suggestions have been made for Survivor, which is currently in the midst of its Island of the Idols season.

It should be interesting to see if NBC follows ABC in suspending its musical competition series. The Voice is arguably American Idol's greatest competitor thanks to their similar premises, but The Voice is currently farther off from its scheduled live shows. The first live broadcast of The Voice Season 18 is scheduled for May 4. If the guidelines prohibiting large gatherings are still in effect in the next month and a half, The Voice may have to go the way of American Idol.

A number of non-scripted shows have had to suspend production due to the coronavirus, so it's certainly not just American Idol. The late-night shows have largely gone off the air, although Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO aired one last coronavirus special and Jimmy Kimmel of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live will release monologues he films from home online.

Production on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette has been affected, which may lead Bachelor Nation fans to wonder what that means for Bachelor in Paradise. Hey, at least The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart will likely air as intended! ABC is replacing some of its regular programming with coronavirus-themed broadcasts.

For now, we can only wait for updates on the American Idol front about when production might resume and those singers hoping for superstardom will have their time in the spotlight live.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV and movie news, and swing by our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule for some shows that definitely have not been impacted by coronavirus.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).