According to Variety, the broadcast network and the production companies have settled on a framework for an agreement to bring back the long-running singing-competition series. According to sources, the Alphabet is eyeing a March premiere for the show, which would potentially air on Sunday nights, where ABC has struggled in recent seasons against NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and programming on Fox and CBS that benefits from a strong NFL lead-in. The Alphabet is the only broadcaster of the Big Four that does not have an NFL package.
Yet to be decided is whether or how longtime host Ryan Seacrest could return to the franchise. Seacrest last week was announced as the new co-host of ABC syndicated morning program “Live!” with Kelly Ripa. He is relocating to New York for the role — a move that presents a substantial obstacle to a return as host of “Idol,” which has always filmed in Los Angeles.
|Ripa and Seacrest|
But the Peacock backed away from a deal, concerned that “Idol” could negatively impact singing competition series “The Voice,” and turned off by a high asking price from the producer. The ABC deal would preclude the involvement of original judge Simon Cowell, who was rumored to be a possibility to rejoin the show at NBC, where he produces “America’s Got Talent” and has an exclusive agreement.
Last week, the 4-2year-old Seacrest vbecame Kelly Ripa's new cohost on ABC's morning show Live! He relocated to New York City for the gig. If he returns to Idol, which films in Hollywood, he would likely have to travel from coast to coast several times a week.
A source tells Us Weekly that Seacrest's main priority is Live!, in addition to his work with iHeartMedia; KIIS 102.7 FN and his syndicated radio shows. "That said, Ryan has a lot of affection for Idol given the significance to his career, and it taps into the things he loves — a live show, pop music, discovering new talent, etc.," the insider adds. "There have been no formal discussions with Ryan about his involvement but he may well be open to it ... in the right capacity and if it fits in with his other commitments."
Meanwhile, Kelly Ripa is said to be livid after having just discovered that the real reason she’ll be sitting next to Ryan Seacrest on Live! doesn’t just have to do with the success of her show: An insider told RadarOnline.com that ABC locked in her new co-host because they are plotting to bring American Idol to the network!
“It’s like Kelly has been betrayed all over again. Ryan wasn’t her first choice, but she was convinced by the network that he would bring in a list guests and ratings,” a source told Radar exclusively. “Now she has found out that it is all about Idol and not really just about her!”