Although this season of American Idol has continued to lose viewers–Survivor has been consistently beating it among total viewers and viewers 18 to 49 for weeks and weeks–Fox will not give up on the show, and it will return next season. That’s a mostly rational decision, considering that it is not quite a failure yet, even though it’s barely a top-25 show recently; The Voice is crushing it, too; and its makeover has been more like pig lipstick than anything else.
What’s really shocking is that the network might bring back the show’s original judges for the series’ final season, whenever that is. Yes, that means a panel with Simon Cowell, whose schtick is so tired no one watched his crappy singing competition; Randy Jackson, who will never leave the American Idol soundstage; and Paula Abdul.
Vulture’s Joe Adalian interviewed Fox entertainment chair Kevin Reilly, and learned both things. Reilly said, “It’s coming back next year.” As to the return of the original three judges, he said, “Yes, possibly — for the last season. But I’m not yet in that place where [next season] would be the last season.”
Earlier this year, Randy Jackson said, “I’d welcome Simon back. It would be amazing.” Bringing back all three judges seems to have most recently been floated last summer, when from Nigel Lythgoe, who had been recently fired as the show’s producer, said, “maybe they should” come back. (Hint: Maybe it’s not the best strategy to do things the guy you fired thinks are good ideas.)
So, to recap: American Idol probably has at least two more seasons, and the final season might flash back to the time before Fox brought Kara DioGuardi in to liven up the tired judging panel, the same panel that will return to officially kill off the series that once crushed everything in its path and now is lingering awkwardly, like someone who graduated from high school three years ago but keeps hanging around.