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The network, which had hoped to lock up at least some Idol talent before its upfront presentation Tuesday, announced Perry as the first judge for the reboot during its formal presentation at New York’s Lincoln Center.
News of Perry’s likely addition broke over the weekend. While on the promotional circuit for her upcoming album, she was not entirely coy about the possibility of joining Idol when she spoke with one-time panelist Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show.
For ABC, Perry’s formal addition is particularly advantageous as it starts securing advertisers for the resurrected singing competition. A-list talent was the top priority of Fox’s version of Idol in its later seasons, a fact that ultimately made the show fiscally unsustainable. But ABC has been vocal about its desire for top-tier names.
“What you can’t do is come back as bargain-basement Idol,” ABC reality chief Robert Mills recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going to make sure the talent is right, and we’ll do what we have to [do to] make it bigger and better than ever.”
With the rest of the judging roster likely not matching Perry’s level of fame — this is a woman with nearly 100 million Twitter followers, after all — the most pressing issue now is if and when ABC will lock in Ryan Seacrest to return as host. The busy TV personality, recently named Kelly Ripa’s full-time co-host, is said to be considering if he can make an Idol return work.
American Idol is being produced for ABC by FremantleMedia and Core Media Group. Previous Idol executive producer Trish Kinane is returning as showrunner.
Added ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, who made the announcement Tuesday: “We are thrilled to be ushering in this new era of American Idol with Katy leading the charge. Her incredible accolades speak for themselves. We are so lucky to have this strong and talented woman help inspire and guide the next crop of artists as they pursue their dreams.”
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