'American Idol' Renewed for Season 4 at ABC, Judges and Ryan Seacrest Unsigned

The pickup comes a few days ahead of the singing competition's third-season finale.
Eliza Morse/ABC
From left: Lionel Richie, Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry, Bobby Bones and Luke Bryan

ABC has renewed American Idol for a fourth season, but for the second year in a row, the pickup comes without new deals for judges Katy Perry, Luke Byran and Lionel Richie and host Ryan Seacrest.

Friday's announcement of the renewal comes two days before American Idol closes out its third season on ABC, and 18th overall. The show has pivoted to remote production for its final rounds, with the contestants, judges and Seacrest all recording at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Perry, Bryan and Richie all eventually signed deals to return last year about three months after the show was renewed. Seacrest followed suit in September 2019. The talent deals for the quartet are the priciest part of the Fremantle/19 Entertainment production.

American Idol's linear ratings have declined a little this season (along with most of the rest of network and cable TV). With a week of delayed viewing, Sunday editions average a 1.5 rating in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49 and 8.41 million viewers, down from 1.7 and 9.1 million last season.

ABC says, however, that American Idol's 35-day, multiplatform numbers among adults 18-49 are up 23 percent year over year.

Sunday's finale will feature performances by Perry, Bryan, Cynthia Erivo — the star of Nat Geo's Genius: Aretha will sing a medley of Aretha Franklin songs — Rascal Flatts and Lauren Daigle. Richie will also lead a rendition of "We Are the World" with this season's top 11 contestants, Perry, Bryan and past Idol contenders Alejandro Aranda aka Scarypoolparty, Fantasia, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard and Scotty McCreery.

American Idol is produced by Fremantle and Industrial Media's 19 Entertainment. Showrunner Trish Kinane, Jennifer Mullin and Megan Wolflick executive produce for Fremantle, with Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman serving as exec producers for 19 Entertainment.