by Emily Engle
FOX has announced that the American Idol fifteenth season beginning in January 2016 will be the series’ final; the announcement went public two days before the finale airing of American Idol’s fourteenth season, speculated to be a gamble by producers to boost viewings for the finale.
When AI returns in January, the season will be christened a “farewell season” and will feature Ryan Seacrest as host with Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. as judges. FOX has declared the season a “celebratory event” that, according to variety.com, will be “paying tribute to fourteen seasons of contestants, winners, and fans.”
No official reason was given by FOX as to the catalyst behind the show’s cancellation, but it is commonly believed that steadily declining ratings and viewership in recent seasons are the culprit, though tvline.com has speculated that it is more because “the show’s recent struggle [is] to catapult its winners to post-show success.”
And indeed, multiple dedicated fans have expressed grievances with the cancellations: many feel little effort was put forth into improving the show before simply “giving up.” In response, FOX TV group chairman-CEO Gary Newman simply agreed, “[It was] not an easy decision.”
For all fifteen seasons of American Idol’s existence, Ryan Seacrest has been host. When asked for his opinion of the cancellation, Seacrest told variety.com, “All the ‘American Idol’ producers, judges, crew and everyone at Fox have been heroic in their efforts to create, produce and sustain such a groundbreaking show for so many years. I’m so glad they’re going to give us a season-long send off. The last season will undoubtedly be a special and emotional one.”