'American Idol' to Air Nationwide Live Telecasts for First Time

The ABC reboot is moving to a same-time vote across the country for three weeks — a first for a reality competition series.
Courtesy of ABC
'American Idol'

American Idol viewers on both U.S. coasts will be able to simultaneously cast their votes for the first time in the reality franchise's history.

The rebooted ABC series will air live in all time zones across the country for a three-week span, beginning with the April 29 show (at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET), ABC announced Monday.

“We set out on a journey to find the best talent this nation has to offer,” said Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement. “As we head into the next phase of the American Idol competition, it only makes sense to let every viewer from coast to coast experience the magic of live television and have the ability to vote for America’s next superstar.”

Idol is the first reality-competition series to move to live coast-to-coast viewing. The move follows NBC's Saturday Night Live, which decided to wrap its 2016-2017 record-setting season by airing its final four episodes live on both coasts. SNL then kept the live broadcasts live across all time zones for its following cycle — season 43, which is currently airing.

Though the show returned to TV with a solid ratings showing, the reboot has stumbled in recent weeks. 

Sunday's episode, which did see a rebound in ratings, had the Top 14 taking the stage live for performances; Monday will bring about the elimination results. The competition is judged by Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, and led by returning host Ryan Seacrest. 

Results will be revealed at the end of each show in real time and Idol will re-air at 8 p.m. PT each week. For the performance finale May 20, viewers will be able to vote overnight and results will be announced on the May 21 season finale.