Emmys: 'American Idol' Tapped for 2016 Governors Award

"You could meaningfully divide the history of television into 'before American Idol' and 'after American Idol,'" said Michael Levine, chair of the selection committee.
Ray Mickshaw/FOX
The 'American Idol' finale

American Idol, the highly rated reality competition series that recently ended its 15-season run on Fox, has been chosen by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for its 2016 Governors Award "in recognition of its game-changing impact on the medium," the TV Academy announced Friday.

The Governors Award is presented annually to "an individual or organizational achievement in the television arts and sciences that is so exceptional and universal in nature, it goes beyond the scope of annual Emmy Awards recognition." Past recipients include William S. Paley, Masterpiece Theater and the "It Gets Better" project.

The Ryan Seacrest-hosted Idol was created by Simon Fuller, who served as its executive producer for its entire run. Its judges famously included Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez, among others. And several of its contestants have gone on to phenomenal success in the music business, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, among others.

"American Idol wasn't just a hit show," said Governors Award selection committee chair Michael Levine. "With its successful integration of social media, dominance of the pop-culture conversation and legions of imitators, it changed television in a profound way. You could meaningfully divide the history of television into 'before American Idol' and 'after American Idol.'"

Idol's only 2016 Emmy nomination was accorded to Seacrest, who is up for outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program. The show cumulatively has received 59 Emmy nominations and won eight Emmys, though never one for outstanding reality series or a denomination thereof. The show did, however, previously receive another Governor's Award, in 2007, for its episode "Idol Gives Back."

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