Say goodbye to cringe-worthy auditions, bickering judges and a progressively bland parade of winners: Fox will put “American Idol,” its one-time ratings powerhouse, out of its misery after the upcoming 15th and final season.
“We all arrived at the conclusion that it was time to bring the show to an end,” Fox CEO Gary Newman said Monday, promising fans a “really special season” with appearances from former winners and judges.
The reality competition, which has provided a warm, moist environment where pop pablum can multiply since 2002, has suffered in the ratings in recent years. After hitting a peak of 30 million viewers per episode in 2006, the Nielsen company reported, ratings slipped to 20 million viewers per episode in 2011 and about 9.15 million viewers per episode this season, according to The Associated Press.
While “American Idol” counts pop star Kelly Clarkson, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and “Sunday Night Football” chanteuse Carrie Underwood among its alumni, it’s also responsible for interchangeable winners like David Cook, Lee DeWyze and Philip Phillips, who may very possibly have been the same earnest young singer wearing slightly different hats. Other “Idol” notables include Taylor Hicks, who appeared in a national touring production of “Grease” and Clay Aiken, who essayed Sir Robin in “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
Sharp-tongued former host Simon Cowell gave People magazine a disappointingly tame “Idol” epitaph (“We had a blast! … Thanks to the fans we were able to make some great shows and found some amazing artists”). But Brian Dunkleman, who co-hosted the show with Ryan Seacrest during the first season and describes himself as a “television history footnote” on Twitter, summed it all up.
“I knew American Idol would never last without me #CANCELLED,” he tweeted.
Rapper and enfant terrible Kanye West received an honorary doctorate Monday from the School of Art Institute in Chicago. … “Fantastic Four” star Miles Teller and his girlfriend, actress Keleigh Sperry, rescued a pregnant woman from a riptide at a Miami beach over the weekend. … Prince debuted a song called “Baltimore” on Sunday during a “Rally 4 Peace” concert in the city.
Actress Emily VanCamp (“Revenge”) is 29. … Actress Kim Fields (“Living Single”) is 46. … Actor-director Emilio Estevez (“Bobby”) is 53. … Singer Billy Squier is 65. … Actress Millie Perkins (“The Diary of Anne Frank”) is 77. … Composer Burt Bacharach is 87. … Baseball Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra is 90.