Well well well. It turns out CBS also considered bringing back American Idol to television. But ultimately the network decided the show wouldn’t be economically feasible. CBS chief Les Moonves made the remarks a press breakfast for reporters before this afternoon’s upfronts presentation in New York City.:
“We were offered American Idol,” Moonves said Wednesday. “And we looked at it. For a couple of reasons, we didn’t like it. For one, the price is so expensive you need a 35 share [in the ratings] to break even, okay? And that’s not going to happen. Number two, as I mentioned, [making money off ownership from the] back end of these shows is becoming more important — or as important — as the front end [from making money off advertising]. We think we’re in a much stronger position [than ABC], we wouldn’t want to spend four hours of our schedule that we wouldn’t have any piece of selling any back end, that’s not necessarily financially beneficial. I’m not trying to knock ABC. We looked at it. We looked at it very seriously. The economics just made absolutely no sense for us, and for them it did.”
The question isn’t which networks did American Idol producers talk with about a possible reboot, but whom DIDN’T they talk to. NBC and FOX were part of the initial bidding war, before ABC ultimately secured a deal to air the iconic competition reality show in 2018. FOX told reporters earlier this week that it would have been fraudulent to bring the show back after giving it a huge sendoff in 2016.
Pop star Katy Perry has signed on as a judge, while ABC continues talks with Ryan Seacrest to host.