Fox Developing New Singing Competition (EXCLUSIVE)

American Idol CBS
Courtesy of Fox

American Idol” is set to return this season on ABC, but the network that was its previous home isn’t keeping its voice down.

Fox is developing a new singing competition from Israeli producer and distributor Armoza Formats, Variety has learned. Although no series order has yet been finalized, development has accelerated since May, when ABC closed a deal to bring “American Idol” back to television just two seasons after Fox canceled the long-running franchise.

The Armoza project is a variation on classic shiny-floor singing competitions, one in which the show’s four finalists are selected in the premiere episode. New contestants then challenge the finalists each week to steal one of the four slots. The winner is named in the season finale.

Armoza made its first sale of the format in April, in France with production company Satisfaction. The show has been being shopped internationally under the title “The Final Four,” but will not air in the U.S. under that name so as to avoid confusion with the NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments. The still-untitled series could be the first show developed under new alternative programming chief Rob Wade, who joined the network in February, to make it to air.

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American Idol CBS

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“American Idol” ended a 15-season run on Fox in 2016, with the network canceling the show after watching it suffer ratings declines and slip from its perch as television’s highest-rated series, a position it held for eight consecutive seasons, beginning in 2003-04.

But Fox struggled to develop new series to compensate for the loss of “Idol,” which still ranked among broadcast’s higher-rated shows through its final season. The network made a late bid for the “Idol” reboot after FremantleMedia began shopping it earlier this year, but was rebuffed in favor of ABC.

If Fox were to premiere its new singing competition at midseason, the show would find itself in the same calendar span in which “Idol” aired. A January debut would give Fox the ability to promote the new series during the NFC playoffs. It would also put the show on the air ahead of ABC’s “Idol” reboot, which is expected to premiere in spring, 2018.

ABC’s deal to bring back “Idol” set off a scramble for talent in the competition-show space. ABC and FremantleMedia have secured Katy Perry to serve as a judge on “Idol” in a deal that gives her $25 million for the show’s first season back. The network and producer are also in advanced talks with Ryan Seacrest to return as host, with a deal set to be announced as early as this week.

NBC, meanwhile, has locked up “Idol” alums Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson to serve as coaches on upcoming seasons of its singing-competition series, “The Voice.”

No new singing competition has been successfully launched on broadcast since “The Voice” in 2011. The most recent effort, ABC’s “Boy Band,” has fared poorly since its premiere in June, averaging a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demo and 2.8 million total viewers according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers.

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    1. Ari Manuel says:

      Golly, what original thinking..Another boring singing contest..Exciting ! Guess the two idiot Murdoch
      sons had an epiphany.

    2. We stopped the IDOL thing previous to the last season for one reason: talent there wasnt any. They let mediocre singers hang around to extend the competition what 13, 16 weeks?
      In all fairness there were only a handful of singers from that show that made it. I remember two years after his win, seeing stacks of Rueben Studdard CD’s going for $5 in Walmart.
      Just like the dancing shows, you never hear from any of these so called winners again. Whats the point? and that Stupid, Ninja? I want to watch someone who has their own gym and makes money training others, fall on their fact for the tenth season in a row in five minutes. Wow. Same dumb people doing same dumb thing.

    3. What a stupid format. These shows already suffer from “the chosen ones” or “pimped frontrunners”, however you’d like to label them. Giving them guaranteed spots and making the “lesser ones” try to knock them out of place….Sounds likely to flop.

    4. Ruth Deutsch says:

      People are already judging this new show and they haven’t even seen it! It could be really cool if they pick 4 people that each represent a different genre and if it’s something more substantial than the obvious of having them both sing back-to-back and get voted on. Re Boy Band, for me it’s interesting to watch all the behind-the-scenes goings on of musicianship, but I can readily understand that most people would be bored and just want to hear them sing and get on with it. The producers likely didn’t market test that concept.

    5. kenneth henson says:

      This is nothing compared to the “singing” competition congress has implemented.

    6. Slippy says:

      If the audience is allowed to throw rotten fruit like in the olde days, I’ll watch. Otherwise, I’d rather
      watch ants crawl across the carpet.

    7. Gigi says:

      Why are they bringing back American Idol….
      It was cancelled because it’s was overdue and ratings went down. Now ABC wants to bring it back and FOX wants to try another one. Please …..!! bring something back instead that should not have been cancelled in the first place.
      There are plenty to choose from.

      • SweetOlBob says:

        Slippy:
        The Voice, and American Idol with their staging and productions to prop up mediocre singers and to create a false sense of suspense ……………….
        FOOGIE ! If they want entertaining, bring back The Gong Show. That was at least honest !
        I’ve seen more opportunities for the use of “The Hook” on those two “talent” searching shows than I care to remember.

        • tvlover44 says:

          uh, you do realize that a reboot of ‘the gong show’ just came on this summer?!

    8. Dunstan says:

      Another dumb singing competition? Coma-inducing.

    9. I’d call it Foursquared and put them in…4 squares on the stage at the end of each week. I release all claims on the name and idea, but I’ll gladly take a trip to the finale as appreciation for my fantastic idea….lol

    10. Liberal Hypocrites says:

      If FOX really want to screw ABC, they should reboot Tim Allen’s show.

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