'American Idol' Judges' Status in Limbo as ABC Picks Up Third Season

Offers are out to Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan to return to the show but no deals are done yet.
ABC/Eric McCandless
'Idol' judges Lionel Richie (left), Katy Perry and Luke Bryan

ABC will keep singing American Idol's tune, but whether it does so with its current trio of judges remains to be seen. 

The network has renewed the singing competition for 2019-20. It will be the show's third season on ABC and 18th overall; ABC picked up Idol in 2017, a year after it ended a 15-season run on Fox.

The makeup of the judges' panel is still to be determined. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that ABC has made offers to current judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan to return next season.

Idol carries a hefty price tag with big salaries for its judges and host Ryan Seacrest, and its ratings took a fairly good-sized hit this season, but it also remains among ABC's better performers. The show is the second highest-rated unscripted series on the network behind The Bachelor, and ranks in the top third of all shows ABC has aired this season.

Perry was the first judge to sign on to the reboot, which made attracting A-list judges a priority — and she was paid like an A-lister, with a reported $25 million contract. Seacrest joined the show soon after and splits time between New York, where he co-hosts syndicated morning show Live With Kelly and Ryan and Idol's L.A. base. 

Pop icon Richie and country star Bryan signed on in September 2017, several weeks after the first auditions took place.

American Idol's Sunday shows are averaging a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and just over 9 million viewers with a week of delayed viewing, off 19 percent in the key ad demographic vs. 2018 and a smaller 6 percent in viewers. Monday editions draw a 1.5 and 8 million viewers, down 25 percent and 16 percent. 

American Idol is produced by Fremantle and Industrial Media's 19 Entertainment. Fremantle's Trish Kinane is the showrunner and executive produces with Jennifer Mullin, Megan Wolflick and Industrial Media's Chris Anokute. 

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