American Idol went off air in April 2016 and since then has recently been renewed by FOX for a 2017-2018 season. Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has captivated viewers by showcasing elaborate unknown talents and leading them to a life of fame. However, “over its last few seasons — as it cycled through judges, and as rival shows like “The Voice” slowed its momentum — the show’s audience collapsed” as noted in a NY Times Article.

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The deterioration of the shows loyal audience is not surprising given the numerous other talent centered shows that appeared on other networks toward the end of the series life. Also, the other talent centered shows had a more exciting structured show that intrigued audiences in ways American Idol never could, such as the set up on The Voice where the judges choose performers without ever seeing their appearance.

I argue that American Idol’s revival on FOX was influenced by the success of other reboots. Most notably, the Netflix reboot of Full House, titled Fuller House, comes to mind when I think of a successful reboot show. However, Fuller House is a successful reboot because of its audience. Full House maintained a large and loyal audience the entire time it was on air, and that same audience continued to watch the reboot Fuller House once it was released.

American Idol has not had the same history. I argue this difference in audience following will cause the American Idol reboot to be as unsuccessful as the show was in its last seasons. American Idol lost its audience long before it went off the air and if the show is maintaining the same structure for the show, viewers will not continue to watch anything but the first episode.

Bringing in new judges and hosts may help, but this will not be able to captivate and sustain a large enough audience to keep American Idol on the air longer than one season. Lastly, since the show has only been off air for one year, it hasn’t allowed a substantial amount of time for audiences to miss the presence of the show. Putting the show back on air after such a short time will not allow it to gain an audience large enough to make it profitable to FOX producers.

american idol

Samantha Ostmann

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  1. mediaphiles says:

    Completely honest, I did not know American Idol had been cancelled, ever went off air, or was being rebooted; this is because like many of those loyal members of their audience, I too stopped watching. I found that even as a young teen the show no longer possessed the excitement, comedy, or quality of production that enticed viewers to come back week after week to enjoy it. Then with all of that impacting the show negatively, it did not give up, but kept coming back season after season with ratings being lower and lower. In my mind, I would have never known it went off air or was coming back without this blog post. I think you do a great job of sharing how its failure was a result of inability to keep judges and compete with the newer shows like The Voice, which are essentially the same but add a different aspect to it in order to separate itself from American Idol and thrive. American Idol is the basis of music competition shows in the modern era and will always be regarded as such, but you are so right in saying it will be unsuccessful in its reboot. Full House is an iconic family sitcom that had viewers of all ages and a legitimate plot throughout the show. In addition, once off air its popularity was so high that it has remained on television networks playing its re-runs since its final episode, allowing old fans to continue to enjoy it and for new young fans to surface. This works in Netflix’s favor when making Fuller House, however, American Idol is a completely different entity as a show with a different history and lack of unrivaled success. Really good observation as to why it will fail, how these shortcomings occurred, and why to avoid such a quick reboot.
    – Anthony Duran

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I completely agree with you, Sam. A huge part of my childhood was watching actually American Idol with my family every year. But at this time, we were watching watching the first five or so seasons. After that the show’s quality deteriorated rapidly and even became a sort of joke for some time (Sanjaya Malkar comes to mind), so we completely lost interest. I do not see the reboot being successful at all, which is probably do to the reasons you mentioned. I am wondering, though, is Fuller House an example of a successful reboot? Or should iconic tv shows not be rebooted at all?

  3. marymdalton says:

    Interesting perspective…

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