TV Upfront

'American Idol' to End After 15 Seasons as Fox Pulls Plug

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President George W. Bush poses with the 'American Idol' finalists in the Oval Office on July 28, 2006, in Washington, D.C. From left to right in the back row are Ace Young, Taylor Hicks, President Bush, Katherine McPhee, and Bucky Covington, and from left to right in the front row are Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett, Lisa Tucker, Mandisa Hundley and Chris Daughtry.
President George W. Bush poses with the 'American Idol' finalists in the Oval Office on July 28, 2006, in Washington, D.C. From left to right in the back row are Ace Young, Taylor Hicks, President Bush, Katherine McPhee, and Bucky Covington, and from left to right in the front row are Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett, Lisa Tucker, Mandisa Hundley and Chris Daughtry. Credit:  Dennis Brack/Bloomberg News

"America Idol," the popular singing show that started the career of music stars and ushered in a slew of copycats on TV, will end its run on Fox after its 15th season concludes in 2016.

The network said Monday this upcoming season would be the last for "Idol," pulling the plug on a show that turned contestants, judges and its host, Ryan Seacrest, into global celebrities.

The show has been an anchor on Fox's schedule since its debut in 2002, drawing more than 30 million viewers in some seasons and more than 20 million for much of its existence. Yet the audience has dwindled in recent years, and Fox's new leaders, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, are looking for fresh material to enliven a network whose ratings dropped more than 20 percent this past season.

Mr. Walden and Mr. Newman are banking on Fox's new music show, the hip-hop drama "Empire," to be a linchpin of the network's success, alongside a reboot of "The X-Files" and a new series by Ryan Murphy, the creator of "Glee." Mr. Murphy is the creator of "Scream Queens," a horror anthology show that will debut on Fox in the upcoming season.

The last season of "American Idol" will feature host Seacrest with judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.

Fox announced the show's ending ahead of its upfront advertising presentation in New York. The four big broadcasters -- also including ABC, NBC and CBS -- will raise $8.61 billion in upfront ad commitments, a 3.1 percent rise, according to estimates from Nomura Securities International.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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