In a desperate attempt to boost ratings in its final season, “American Idol” producers are bringing back original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, say TV industry insiders.
“In the past, the producers had always pooh-poohed the idea of asking them back,” said a source close to the groundbreaking FOX competition. “But after last season’s ratings debacle, execs felt they had to do something drastic.
So they’re going with the tried-and-true threesome in hopes that the show can go out with a bang.”
All three original judges stayed for eight seasons during the height of “Idol’s” popularity.
After debuting in 2002, the singing showdown became one of the highest-rated TV shows of all time – a position it held onto for an unprecedented seven straight years.
“It beat out ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Cosby Show,’ which were both no. 1 for five years,” Paul Grein, Yahoo music editor, told The ENQUIRER.
But in recent years, “Idol” went into a ratings nosedive. Experts say part of the problem has been other singing competition shows such as “The Voice.” They also say that viewers got fed up with seemingly endless rounds of replacement judges – currently Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
Meanwhile, the three original judges never found the same kind of success with other ventures.
Simon “Mr. Nasty” Cowell left “Idol” in 2010 for the U.S. version of “The X Factor,” which wound up being canceled earlier this year after just three seasons. Paul Abdul also bid farewell to “Idol” in 2010. The following year she became a judge on “Live to Dance,” then went on to other projects.
Randy Jackson gave up his judge’s seat in May 2013 but returned to “Idol” as a mentor early this year.
Now, FOX made the original judges offers they couldn’t refuse. Simon would reportedly haul in more than $15 million for the season, and Paula is said to make more than TWICE her old salary.
Now that’s something to sing about!