“American Idol” is finally coming to a close. The 15th and final season will premiere January 2016.
Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban will return as season 15 judges, along with host Ryan Seacrest.
While searching for the final “Idol” superstar, the last season will also serve as a “celebratory event,” paying tribute to fourteen seasons of contestants, winners and fans.
“It’s the right time to bring this run to a close,” Newman said in a conference call Tuesday. “We really wanted to do it in a way that felt special and celebratory … and send it off in a way that is as significant as the run it’s had on our network.”
The show will air in its usual Wednesday-Thursday pattern to start and then consolidate to one performance and results show on Thursday, execs said.
“American Idol,” created by Simon Fuller, debuted in 2002 with original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Throughout its 14 seasons, other A-list judges have included Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Steven Tyler, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres. It ranked as the No. 1 series on broadcast TV for eight of its 15 seasons.
The reality competition made a star of Seacrest, who has served as emcee since season one, when he shared hosting duties with Brian Dunkleman, who exited after the first round.
“‘American Idol’ has been a big part of my life for so long, it’s frankly hard to imagine it without it,” Seacrest said in a statement. “It’s been a remarkable journey, and I feel very fortunate to have been part of a show that made television history in countless ways. It’s a show about chasing and fulfilling dreams, and truth be told, it helped some of my own dreams come true too.”
Newman and fellow Fox TV Group chair Dana Walden said they’re open to the possibility for former judges, including Cowell, and performers returning for the final season. Walden said the goal was to deliver some “nostalgia” for fans.
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