Some Fox executives apparently aren’t happy that American Idol is getting a reboot on ABC, only 15 months after the show’s series finale. Fox TV chairman Dana Walden opened up about the network switch during a conference call with reporters on Monday, May 15. Find out more in the video above, and detailed below!
“Yes, it feels bad knowing it’s coming back on another network,” she said, per Variety. “It’s obviously a tough one for us. We loved American Idol. It’s so connected to the Fox brand. It was associated with a tremendous amount of success for everyone involved for 15 years.”
Walden claimed that Fox and Idol producer FremantleMedia North America had different visions for the reality series. The production company reportedly wanted to move forward with a reboot ASAP, while she and her colleagues believed it was too soon following the show’s farewell season in 2016.
“They were determined to get this show back on the air as quickly as possible,” she continued. “We spent about $25 million sending a clear message that it was the farewell season. It felt to us it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly, that fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then having the show brought back right away.”
Idol and FremantleMedia didn’t see eye to eye last year, either. Walden claimed that Fox would have continued the show, but the company didn’t “want to take significant trims.” She said if Fox got their way, Idol would have returned in 2020 after a couple of years off the air.
“They didn’t want to test out a new panel — they felt like it had taken a long time to find the chemistry they had with [Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr.],” Walden said. “They ultimately said to us they would rather rest the show after this season rather than make any changes, and that’s when we decided to call it the farewell season.”