American Idol will be returning for a third season on ABC (18th overall), but there’s one catch, the reality show could see a shakeup within its judging panel.
When ABC returned American Idol back from the dead in 2017, the caveat of the show returning was to attract top talent for the judges table to lure in viewers, but that costed a hefty price tag. The network was able to sign Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan for the shows return. What was even more eye-popping were their salaries – Katy Perry signed on for $20 million a season, which Ritchie and Bryan making slightly less. Host Ryan Seacrest also returned for the reality-competition’s second go around, but its reportedly in the middle of a long-term deal at ABC and expected to return to his hosting duties.
With a new regime at ABC, the renewal of American Idol is dependent on reducing production cost on the series, and the most obvious way to trim the budget is to take a closer look at the judging panel. This means if new deals can’t be worked out for Perry, Ritchie and Bryan, ABC will be sure to replace them with less expensive talent.
American Idol, which originally aired on Fox from 2002-2016, is no stranger to mixing up its judging panel. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Adbul were the original judges that reignited the careers of Jackson and Abdul, while introducing America to brashy-Brit Simon Cowell. Over the course of its later seasons, the judging panel was home to A-List talent such as Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres and Keith Urban.