“American Idol” Comes To An End

( 4UMF NEWS ) "American Idol" Comes To An End:

“Idol” worship is coming to an end.

“American Idol,” the most successful TV show of the 21st century and the birthplace of stars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, will end after its 15th season in spring 2016, the Fox network announced Monday.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Fox Television Co-Chairman and CEO Gary Newman said Monday morning. “We talked with the producers and we all agreed it was time to bring it to an end.”

While “Idol” suffered a precipitous ratings drop the last few years, it has remained a contemporary television touchstone.

It revolutionized the long-standing genre of talent shows by focusing on the invidual dramas of the contestants and introducing judges with attitude — particularly Simon Cowell, whose departure before Season 10 signaled to many fans the symbolic end of the original show.

“Idol” burst onto the air in June 2002 and was an immediate smash, drawing more than 20 million viewers.

By 2006 and 2007 its audience reached a staggering 36 million viewers an episode, reviving the whole concept of water-cooler television. In all, it ruled as the No. 1 show on television for eight seasons.

“Idol” was also one of the first shows to enhance its buzz through social media.

Its ratings had plunged dramatically in recent years as it produced fewer successful performers and the starpower focus shifted toward celebrity judges like Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

As often happens, its demise also stemmed in part from shows it inspired. That notably included NBC’s “The Voice,” which supplanted “Idol” as the top competition show by coming in with a fresher format aimed at a younger audience.

Still, Newman said Monday that “Idol” remained “a very successful show” and Fox had not considered downshifting it to a smaller production or moving it to a less prominent summer slot.

“It has been s uch a central part of Fox,” he said. “We wanted to end it in a way that felt special and celebratory.”

The 2015-2016 season will feature those elements, he said, though he added nothing is concrete.