"American Idol," which commanded Fox's fortunes for a decade and the rest of network TV's fortunes as a result, will end in 2016, Fox just announced.
" 'American Idol' will begin its 15th and final a season this January on Fox. A season-long celebratory event, 'American Idol XV' will feature host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., as they search for the final 'Idol' superstar and pay tribute to the past 14 seasons of amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who tweeted, texted and championed their 'Idols,' " according to a statement.
"It was not an easy decision," said Gary Newman, Fox TV chief co-chief, " 'American Idol' has been such a vital part of Fox for its run and we spent a lot of time talking with producers about the future and collectively arrived [at the point] that it was time to bring the show to an end, but wanted to do it in a way that felt special and celebratory. So next year, we are announcing it as the final season. It is going to be a true season-long celebration talking about surprises we can have to make it feel special and send it off in way that is significant as the run it's had on our network."
Dana Walden, co-chief, said: "We'd welcome any of them [original hosts] back, are having conversations with them about anything you can imagine ... [We] want to send [it] off in a way that feels memorable."
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There will be four new comedies, a comedy-horror anthology, four dramas and the return of "The X-Files," which Fox is billing as a six-episode "event series." Five of the shows will debut in the fall, with the rest scattered throughout the season as Fox and other networks attempt to engage viewers year-round.
"The Mindy Project," along with fellow comedies "Weird Loners" and "Mulaney," were canceled. Also gone are the dramas "Backstrom," ''Red Band Society" and "The Following," and the reality series "Utopia."
The last chorus of "American Idol" will begin in January, with stalwart host Ryan Seacrest ushering the show to a (hopefully) graceful conclusion after a long and influential run that, at its peak, drew 30 million viewers.
Ryan Murphy, who gave Fox a hit with "Glee," is getting another chance with "Scream Queens." Writer-producer Chris Carter, who created a landmark Fox series with "The X-Files" (1993-2002), will reunite with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson to try to recapture the magic with a sequel starting in January.
"The X-Files" will have company in the sci-fi and fantasy camp. Futuristic "Minority Report," based on the Steven Spielberg movie, will follow a duo trying to stop crimes before they happen, while DC Comics-inspired "Lucifer" re-imagines the fallen angel as a crime buster and "The Frankenstein Code" is about a resurrected lawman.
It worked for NBC with "The Sound of Music," not so much with "Peter Pan," but that isn't deterring the peacock network from planning a live "The Wiz" or Fox from airing "Grease: Live," a three-hour version of the musical planned for January. Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens will star in that special. With broadcasters desperate to keep viewers watching shows and commercials in real time, expect more such efforts.
Fox is upping the ante by creating a Tuesday comedy night this fall with three of its new comedies: "Grandfathered," starring John Stamos; "The Grinder" with Rob Lowe and Fred Savage; and comedy-horror anthology "Scream Queens." The new year will bring another sitcom, "The Guide to Surviving Life," and the animated comedy "Bordertown" from Seth MacFarlane and Mark Hentemann of "Family Guy."
Although the small-screen is said to create stars, there's no reason they can't be recycled. Besides Lowe, Stamos, Savage, Duchovny and Anderson, returning actors with a track record include the (barely absent) Lea Michele of "Glee," back in "Scream Queens"; Morris Chestnut ("Nurse Jackie") in "Rosewood"; and Rob Kazinsky ("True Blood") in "The Frankenstein Code."
-- With The Associated Press