According to ABC’s midseason schedule, released Monday (Jan 8) ahead of Disney Day at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, American Idol is set to premiere on Sunday March 11 a week after the Oscars, The show will air four hours a week–two on Sunday and two on Monday–for the first seven weeks. YES. ABC has made the interesting decision to go head to head with The Voice on NBC.
Beginning on April 29, the show will air once a week for the rest of the season, which likely ends on Sunday May 20. (Katy Perry heads out on a European tour beginning Wednesday May 23–the same day May advertiser sweeps end). That would be the shortest American Idol season ever. Even the final 2016 season on FOX, which aired from January to April, ran 14 weeks.
Here’s how the schedule will break down according to reporter who attended the day-ending American Idol panel:
- Auditions will air Sunday and Monday.
- Ditto Hollywood Week rounds.
- Live shows will air once a week beginning Sunday April 29 when Dancing with the Stars takes over on Monday April 30.
- There will be NO results shows.
By my calculation, that’s only four weeks/8 hours of live shows? And way more hours of the other stuff. It’ll be interesting to see how the show deals with voting. Would they dare eliminate overnight voting windows in favor instant twitter/online voting, effectively cutting off the west coast? Consider there won’t even be a two night finale.
Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan along with host Ryan Seacrest took reporters questions at the panel. Also in attendance were executive producers Trish Kinane, Meghan Michaels, Jennifer Mullins and Entertainment President Channing Dungey.
Here are a few panel highlights:
- Katy Perry Says Idol Needs to Find a Star: “Literally, we are wasting our time if we do not find a star,” said Perry. She said that Americans don’t need another singing television show that will produce a forgettable winner, “They need another legit American Idol.”
- No one on stage could immediately name an American Idol winner from the last few years. “Because there are a few years where you don’t remember those contestants, we don’t want it to go that way,” said Bryan, “We want it to go right back to what it was known for.”
- On the differences between the FOX and ABC versions of the show: “It’s different obviously because of these personalities but the show, at its core, works,” Seacrest said. “The format works in practice. We go out, we look for young talented people, they see the judges, they come back to Hollywood, and they’ll have to step up. There’s been a lot of talk about how is the show different. You’ve got three different faces, you’ve got different contestants, but to change the show drastically in terms of format would be a big mistake.”
- The Judging Panel is More than Big Names: “Something that was important to me…that there were going to be three or four stars on the show who weren’t just going to be individual stars, but were going to come on to collaborate,” said Seacrest. “To take this seriously and to give the franchise what it deserves. The legacy of this franchise is important to fans, it’s important to us who have worked on it for a long time.”
- There will be no bad singers. “It doesn’t feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up on stage and laugh at them,” said Kinane. “I think that people once thought that the judges saw everyone, and now you know there’s a line of producers who screen before them.” There might be an oddball or two, “We want the humor, but we don’t want the exploitation.”
- Nobody will be the Panel’s Simon Cowell: “There is only one Simon Cowell,” she said. “That was 15 years ago and he’s doing a slightly different version of Simon Cowell on ‘AGT’ at the moment.”
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