Here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
- Kathy Griffin has been widely criticized for a gory photo shoot with Donald Trump's (fake) head
- Then she apologized
- But President Trump didn't accept Griffin's apology
- Neither did First Lady Melania Trump
- And now CNN has fired Griffin
- Lebanon has officially banned 'Wonder Woman' over star's Israeli heritage
- Olivia Newton-John has a new cancer diagnosis; her June shows are postponed
The confetti and dashed singing dreams had barely been swept off the stage of "American Idol" before ABC announced last week its decision to resurrect the long-running Fox franchise for the 2017-18 season.
The revival had many perplexed, though not entirely surprised. Talks about the return of "American Idol," which wrapped its 15-season run on Fox just last year, have been swirling for months, with NBC in the running as a possible home at one point.
“American Idol” premiered on Fox in 2002 and quickly became a ratings powerhouse for the network. At its peak, the singing competition series drew an average of 30 million viewers a week. Even as its viewership dropped considerably in its later seasons — to about 9 million viewers — such numbers are coveted in a fractured media landscape, particularly for ABC.
Of the show's move to ABC, Fox Television Group co-chairman Dana Walden, in a Monday conference call, noted "It’s obviously a tough one for us. We loved 'American Idol.' It's so connected to the Fox brand."
"I would say it was a bit of a complicated process over the past year to figure out whether we were interested or not," Walden continued. "We sat down with ['Idol' producer] Fremantle just a month or two after the end of the show. They were determined to get the show back on the air as quickly as possible. We felt very strongly — the ratings bounced back a little bit in the final season. We spent about $25 million sending a clear and persistent message that it was the farewell season, and fans responded and the ratings ticked up. It felt to us, sitting in those initial meetings with Fremantle, like it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly, that our fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then have the show brought back right away."
With those differing opinion and the ratings over the four years prior to the final season dropping almost 70%, Walden says Fox asked for trims. Fremantle did not want to make significant cuts or test out a new judging panel and, she says, Fox respected that and decided to dub last season the "farewell season."
Walden says Fox was eyeing 2020 as a more reasonable return date in order to give the creators and producers a chance to tinker with the show, but Fremantle was not interested in waiting.
"They wanted it back on the air and they thought ABC was a good opportunity."