×

ABC Chief Channing Dungey: ‘It’s the Perfect Time’ to Revive ‘American Idol’

A day after Fox executives weighed in on ABC’s move to revive “American Idol,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey defended the network’s decision to bring the show back so soon after its 2016 “farewell season” on Fox.

“From where we sit, we feel like it’s the perfect time to bring this series back,” Dungey said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters ahead of the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers at Lincoln Center. “What I love about it personally is that it’s about heartfelt, uplifting stories of people who make their dreams come true. And honestly, that’s our sweet spot at ABC.”

Dungey’s comments came just a day after Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden declared that it was too soon for Fox to revive the series, telling reporters prior to her network’s upfront: “It would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly.” ABC outbid Fox to land the show from FremantleMedia and Core Media Group. Walden said Monday that Fox wanted to revive the show in 2020. Sources familiar with the negotiations contend that Fox was looking to bring the show back in the 2018-19 season.

ABC does not yet have deals in place with Ryan Seacrest, who is in talks to return as host of “Idol,” or with any judges or other onscreen talent.

“We are in a number of key conversations, but we don’t have anything to announce on that at this time,” Dungey said.

The ABC chief did, however, hint at a new look for the show, which ran for 15 seasons on Fox.

“In terms of format changes to make it feel fresh, absolutely,” Dungey said. “This is going to be ABC’s version of ‘American Idol,’ so we are very excited. I think you guys will see when we unveil our version of the show that it is going to have a very clear ABC hallmark and brand on it at that point.”

Dungey also spoke briefly about the process of securing “Idol.” The network had originally been cool to the idea of becoming the new home of the long-running series, which was for eight consecutive seasons the highest-rated show on television.

“Some of the ideas that were discussed in the initial proposals kind of didn’t feel like they made sense for us,” Dungey said. “But that was just an early, preliminary inquiry. Once we sat down with Fremantle and Core to engage in serious conversations, I think we realized what a perfect fit this could be for us.”

The 16th season of “American Idol” is slated to premiere in midseason on ABC.

More Music

  • Grammy Awards 60th Annual Grammy Awards,

    Recording Academy Paid Millions Annually to Outside Law Firms

    Among the concerns listed in a memo sent to the Recording Academy’s head of HR by president/CEO Deborah Dugan before she was placed on administrative leave Thursday was an item about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, according to sources familiar with the document. According to the most recent 990 [...]

  • Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Showcases Catalog, Ejects Right Wing Heckler at Tour Opener

    Bob Mould kicked off a somewhat unusual solo electric tour at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. last night, with a 75-minute set that drew evenly from across his four decade career. Mould may have embraced a sunnier perspective since moving to Berlin three years ago — as evidenced by his [...]

  • Naaz

    Italy's Meduza, Dutch singer Naaz Among Winners at Music Moves Europe Talent Awards

    Italian electronic producers Meduza, Norway’s Girl In Red, and Dutch singer Naaz (pictured) were among the winners at the second annual Music Moves Europe Talent Awards, which took place Friday, Jan. 17 in the Netherlands. The honor, formerly known as the European Border Breakers Award (EBBA), went to eight artists in total, as well as [...]

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Eminem "Music to Be Murdered By"

    Eminem's 'Music to Be Murdered By': Album Review

    Eminem’s surprise album release may bear the Hitchcock-referencing title “Music to Be Murdered By,” but, yes, as you’d expect, “Music to Murder To” might be a more apt description. The 20-track LP, his tenth since soundtracking the turn of the millennium with 1999’s “The Slim Shady LP,” finds the Detroit rap legend in an alternately rancorous [...]

  • Cynthia Erivo25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards,

    Cynthia Erivo Talks Singing Live on Set for 'Genius: Aretha'

    Cynthia Erivo confirmed the rumor that she is indeed singing live on set for “Genius: Aretha.” During the Nat Geo series’ Television Critics’ Association press tour pane, Erivo discussed how singing live allowed her to capture the voice and essence of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. “Singing is my second language, the rumor is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content