LOS ANGELES (AFP) – US television network Fox said Monday that it s pulling the plug on “American Idol,” the pop-music talent series that produced such stars as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
” American Idol will begin its 15th — and final — season this January on Fox,” said the network in a statement as it unveiled its fall programming line-up.
It promised “a season-long celebratory event” that will pay tribute to past seasons of “amazingly talented contestants” and to the millions of fans who watched the show and selected its winners.
Returning as judges will be Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr, the network said. Ryan Seacrest will host the show, as he has since its inception.
A spin-off from the British series “Pop Idol,” “American Idol” premiered in the summer of 2002 and quickly made its mark in US television history.
More than a dozen winners, runners-up and lesser finalists went on to establish credible recording careers, music industry journal Billboard said.
Besides Clarkson and Underwood, the list includes Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, Taylor Hicks, Clay Aiken and Phillip Phillips.
With tart-tongued British music mogul Simon Cowell among the judges, “American Idol” dominated US television ratings in its early years, pulling as many as 38 million viewers for its season two finale.
It also innovated audience participation, with viewers invited to pick up their phones and vote for their favorite contestants.
But in later years, ratings flagged amid stiff competition from rival shows including NBC s “The Voice” and Cowell s own “The X Factor.”
The American premiere of the current 14th season, which ends this Wednesday, pulled only 11.2 million viewers.
Outside the United States, “American Idol” is seen in dozens of countries, which often also have their own local adaptation of the show.