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The green light, which comes ahead of the network’s May 15 pitch to media buyers, also includes deals for series talent Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and host Ryan Seacrest.
What would happen with Idol was one of the biggest questions of the 2017-18 broadcast season. ABC and producers FremantleMedia negotiated a return for what was once TV’s biggest show just a year after it ended its storied 15-season run on Fox in 2016. The series took up significantly less real estate on the schedule, airing Sundays and Mondays for two months before a brief run of live episodes Sunday, and pulled a smaller audience than it did in its last season on Fox — but, pivotally, the new Idol delivered what ABC promised advertisers.
Through the end of April, Idol averaged a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 for the Sunday shows and a 1.9 rating for the Monday telecasts with live-plus-3 lifts. Both of those top the 1.8 rating that had been guaranteed, albeit not by much: 30-second spots went for nearly $200,000, with 75 percent of the season’s inventory sold ahead of the premiere. One arena where the show didn’t succeed was in launching new dramas. ABC slotted midseason efforts Deception and The Crossing after Idol‘s Sunday and Monday telecasts, and neither managed to retain their lead-in.
Promising news for the series came earlier in the week, when the first live telecast popped to its highest score since the premiere. It boded well for a renewal that already seemed like a lock. ABC and parent Disney had invested too much into the project to retreat after just one season.
Both ABC and FremantleMedia have been adamant that Idol is not a loss leader, though it’s hard to imagine significant profits with salaries as high as $25 million and $10 million attached to Perry and Seacrest, respectively.
“We knew that American Idol on ABC would unleash an opportunity for singers from all walks of life to realize their dreams and that these incredible contestants would have America rooting for their success,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. “I am thrilled that Katy, Luke, Lionel and Ryan will be back to once again embark on this Idol journey with us to discover the next crop of inspiring talent.”
The addition of Idol has taken some stress off of the aging reality franchise Dancing With the Stars. The latter got an abbreviated run later in the season for its spring cycle. DWTS has already been renewed for the 2018-19 season, as have fellow unscripted efforts The Bachelor, America’s Funniest Home Videos and Child Support.
American Idol continues on Sundays, airing live on both coasts, through Monday, May 21, with the conclusion of a two-night finale.
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