American Idol may be revived

Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr, the judges of the reality singing contest, American Idol 13.
Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr, the judges of the reality singing contest, American Idol 13.PHOTO: STAR WORLD

(NYTimes) - Even by the standards of an industry all too happy to revive canceled shows, this is exceptionally fast.

NBC is in discussions to potentially bring back American Idol, according to a person briefed on the plans.

FremantleMedia, the production company behind Idol, approached NBC recently with a plan to revive the show, which was canceled at Fox and went off the air nine months ago. The two sides are not close to a deal and the discussions could very well fall apart, the person added.

Variety reported the news earlier.

American Idol, the talent show that debuted in 2002, was a monster hit for Fox, before its ratings cratered the last few years it was on the air.

It's not unheard-of for canceled shows to make a comeback: The comedy The Mindy Project found a home at Hulu after Fox cancelled it; the soapy drama Nashville went to CMT after appearing on ABC. But it is rare for a cancelled show from one of the four broadcast networks to find a new home at a rival network, and at this speed.

NBC would have the added complication of finding time for Idol, since it has a sturdy schedule and a singing competition show of its own, The Voice, which runs both in its fall and in midseason. (It also has America's Got Talent, which is a ratings success in the summer).

NBC executives are also having discussions about spinning off the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live into its own prime time show.