Before American Idol even went off the air in April this year, the show’s creator, Simon Fuller, was boldly claiming that Idol would return someday. And this Sunday, Fuller sparked even more speculation about a possible Idol revival when accepting a special Governors Award at the Creative Arts Emmys — although he later told Yahoo backstage that he was just “being very mischievous” and that his comments were merely his “English sense of humor.”
Onstage at the ceremony — after pointing out the ridiculous fact that “it’s been 15 years and this is the first Emmy we’ve actually won for the show, can you believe that?” — Fuller thanked Idol’s contestants and judges, Fox’s former President of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell, and the show’s “three Englishmen”: Simon Cowell, Ken Warwick, and Nigel Lythgoe. But he elicited a few chuckles, and more than a few raised eyebrows, when he turned to Fox Broadcasting Company CEO Dana Walden (who had joined him at the podium with FremantleMedia Group CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz) and proclaimed, “Dana, thank you for bringing the show back in 2018! We can’t wait to make it.”
Then, when Fuller wrapped up his speech with shout-out to longtime Idol emcee and seven-time nominee Ryan Seacrest (who lost the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program award this weekend to RuPaul’s Drag Race star RuPaul Charles), he again quipped, “See you in 2018, mate.”
Fuller didn’t exactly sound like he was joking; however, a spokesperson for Fox has denied that there are any plans to bring American Idol back in 2018.
On a more serious note, while American Idol didn’t get its Emmy due during its 15-season run, the series’ undeniable influence was rightly praised during an introduction Sunday by the chairman and CEO of the Television Academy, Bruce Rosenblum.
“With its successful integration of a social media, dominance over pop culture, and legions of imitators, American Idol changed television in a profound way,” Rosenblum said. “You can meaningfully divide the history of television into ‘before American Idol‘ and ‘after American Idol‘… Idol transformed reality television from something that was a novelty into mainstream programing… It cultivated an increasingly intimate relationship between those who created television and those who watched it, and its use of real-time audience participation ignited a frenzy of fan culture… It also revived Hollywood’s overnight success mythology, shaping the dreams and habits of a new generation.
“Its enormous audience may be among the last of its kind.”
Sunday night’s Governors Award presentation honoring American Idol, which took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, also included a performance by Season 5 runner-up-turned-TV-star Katharine McPhee, who reprised her most famous Idol number, “Over the Rainbow.”
Click here for a full list of all the Creative Arts Emmy winners, handed out over two ceremonies Saturday and Sunday in Los Angeles. The Primetime Emmy Awards will air next weekend, Sunday, Sept. 18, on ABC.