Although there are versions of Idol produced around the world, American Idol itself has, since the second season, been seen around the world.
Idol is now “shown in about 20 markets via terrestrial broadcasting and reaches another 60-plus markets through satellite feeds for Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East, for a total of 154 countries,” the AP reports. Among the show’s fans are Princes William and Harry; Harry recently told interviewers that his brother “won’t admit to it but we did both watch [reality TV], especially the American ‘Pop Idol.’”
Over time, it “has gradually gone into the international marketplace. And it’s been very, very successful,” FremantleMedia’s David Ellender told the AP. In part, he says that’s because “American music is universal.” And so is money: The international distribution helps contribute to the estimated $1 billion+ that the show and its derivations draw worldwide.