TV Critic’s Corner

‘Idol’ is on its way back, but Seacrest may be another story

“American Idol” is going to return to TV, this time on ABC, less than two years after it was canceled by Fox.
“American Idol” is going to return to TV, this time on ABC, less than two years after it was canceled by Fox.

Monday is the first day of Upfronts week, when the broadcast networks reveal all their big decisions about the fall — which shows will return, which are canceled, and which new series have been picked up.

One show is a sure bet, though: “American Idol” is going to return to TV, in midseason most likely, less than two years after the 15-season show was canceled. It won’t be on Fox’s schedule, though; the show is coming to ABC, where it will live beside other ABC reality brands including “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Bachelor.” ABC is presenting its plan at the Upfronts on Tuesday, when the network might also name the judges.

Why is it returning so soon? The “Idol” ratings on Fox had ultimately fallen far below their spectacular early years, but they still weren’t awful, with an average of 11.5 million total viewers. If the show pulls close to that number for ABC, it will be considered a success. ABC has tried, and failed (with “Rising Star” and “Duets”), to develop its own singing competition.


Will host Ryan Seacrest return? His new gig on “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” which films in New York, just might get in the way, along with his radio shows and red carpet work. But then Seacrest — who was with “Idol” throughout its Fox run — is an integral part of the brand, and ABC might want to think about paying him tons of money and flying him back and forth. Some fans may remember that, at the end of the Fox series finale, he ambiguously said, “Good night America, for now.”

When Kelly Ripa brought up the hosting possibility on “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” Seacrest said, “I don’t know if I can host,” referring to all the preparation he has to do every night for “Live.” Ripa said, “Yes, you can!” adding that on post-“Idol” mornings, “you won’t even have to think, I will do it all!”

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.