What a long strange trip it’s been for the most popular music reality show in television history. Fox’s American Idol has been a ratings juggernaut, routinely gathering in 30 million viewers and dominating multiple nights of television no matter what was thrown up against it. It spawned platinum-selling artists like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, alongside a whole lot of busts and smaller-level successful artists like Fantasia Barrino and Adam Lambert. Not all the winners have been popular, but you can’t argue with the show’s television success. Now it’s all coming to an end. The 15th season of American Idol will be the last for the venerable program.
Of course, the end isn’t a huge surprise. The show’s been struggling in the ratings, if you can consider 10 million viewers a struggle in the new network economy. They’ve swapped hosts from Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell to Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez (and Harry Connick, Jr.) for the last season. Still, rotating guest judges, crazy special guests, and a wide variety of gimmicks haven’t helped the ratings, and the crucial demographics that AI once dominated haven’t been there, taken away by competition shows like The Voice. The writing’s been on the wall for awhile, and Fox is going to choose to bow out with a little integrity intact.
“We’ve known it’s coming to the end,” said 21st Century Fox president Chase Carey.
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