Fox Says ‘American Idol’ Move to ABC is ‘Extremely Fraudulent’
Fox executives are quick to respond to American Idol’s move to ABC in its latest revival of the show.
“They were determined to get this show back on the air as quickly as possible,” Fox TV chairman Dana Walden said to reporters. “We spent about $25 million sending a clear message that it was the farewell season. It felt to us it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly, that fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then having the show brought back right away.”
Dana said Fox, ABC and NBC bid for bringing American Idol to their networks, but Fox wanted to wait a little longer (as long as the year 2020). But FremantleMedia, she said, rushed it back quickly for financial reasons.
“We and Fremantle had very different points of view,” she said. “The last conversation we had with them was about how the ratings had dropped over 70 percent over four years. There was clearly a ratings trend. It was not going in the right direction. The network was losing an enormous amount of money and we had asked them to make trims. And they felt, as is their right, that they didn’t want to take significant trims, they didn’t want to test out a new panel — they felt like it had taken a long time to find the chemistry they had with [Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick]. They ultimately said to us they would rather rest the show after this season rather than make any changes, and that’s when we decided to call it the farewell season.”
Dana continued: “[FremantleMedia parent RTL Group] lost revenue from not having this show on in the U.S. — that’s meaningful when you’re running a public company. And all of a sudden we were made aware of conversations with ABC to bring the show back in 2018, which, again, would put it off the air for one season. And we again felt like this is way too soon. We tried to engage Fremantle in conversations about bringing it back in 2020 which is when we thought would be an appropriate amount of time off the air, and could give the producers and creators the opportunity to make some changes that could present the next generation of Idol, and they really just weren’t interested in that. They wanted it back on the air and thought ABC was a good opportunity.”
Read more at Entertainment Weekly.