'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller: The show 'will be coming back for sure'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Simon Cowell Throws Major Shade at "American Idol"

"American Idol will be right back, after the break." Ryan Seacrest has uttered that sentence hundreds of times over the last 15 years. But now those words are taking on a new meaning.

As the series ends its run on Fox, creator Simon Fuller tells The Hollywood Reporter that he is thinking, "How does Idol live for the next 15 years?" Says the 55-year-old CEO of XIX Entertainment, who came up with the concept for Idol back in 2002: "There will no doubt be another format or refinement or elevation of the format. Now I can actually revamp it and come up with a new version. And we can look back on 15 seasons and think of some legitimate ways to allow people to enjoy them again, maybe adding another dimension to it."

See where American Idol contestants are now:

34 PHOTOS
American Idol contestants - Where are they now?
See Gallery
'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller: The show 'will be coming back for sure'
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 22: Recording artist Taylor Hicks arrives at Tony La Russa's 3rd annual Leaders & Legends Gala benefitting the Animal Rescue Foundation at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on November 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Animal Rescue Foundation)
Finalist Clay Aiken, of Raleigh, N.C., performs during the final competition of American Idol Tuesday, May 20, 2003, in Universal City, Calif. Television viewers have already decided which of the 24-year-old Southern singers will claim the title of "American Idol."
Clay Aiken attends the Broadway opening of "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York.
American Idol's Constantine Maroulis poses for photographers as he arrives for the New York City benefit premiere of "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York, Thursday, May 12, 2005. Proceeds from the premiere will benefit The Children's Heath Fund, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing medical care to the nation's homeless and disadvantaged children. (AP Photo)
Justin Guarini, 23, of Doylestown, Pa., sings during the final episode of Fox's television competition "American Idol," in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002. The winner earns a recording contract, and will release a CD single later this month and a full album in November. (AP Photo)
Justin Guarini attends the Broadway opening of "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
American Idol finalist Fantasia Barrino is emotional after finishing her last performance during the finale of the music competition show Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Fantasia Barrino attends the after party for the opening night performance of Broadway's "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
Constantine Maroulis attends the Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th annual induction and awards gala on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo performs during the finale of the music competition show, Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Diana DeGarmo arrives at the 2013 AFI FEST premiere of "Lone Survivor" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Frenchie Davis attends the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2003 in New York City. (Getty Images)
Frenchie Davis attends For the Love of R&B - A Tribute to Whitney Houston at Tru Hollywood on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Finalist Ruben Studdard, from Birmingham, Ala., performs his first song Burt Bacharach's "A House is Not a Home" during the final competition of American Idol Tuesday, May 20, 2003, in Universal City, Calif.
Ruben Studdard, left, and Candice Glover perform onstage at the 2013 Soul Train Awards at the Orleans Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Contestant Sanjaya Malakar attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 contestants held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
Singer Sanjaya Malakar attends The 2nd Annual ASPCA Rock n' Roll LA Benefit at The Olympic Collection on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)
Bo Bice performs "Long, Long Road" during the "American Idol" live finale in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25, 2005. (AP Photo)
Bo Bice arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Jordin Sparks perform "I Saw Her Standing There" during the opening act of the season finale of American Idol on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Jordin Sparks arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Contestant Blake Lewis attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 finalists held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
Blake Lewis arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
American Idol Season 7's Top 24 contestant David Archuleta poses at a party in their honor, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
David Archuleta performs during the 2011 "Make A Difference" benefit concert at the Ronald McDonald House on November 8, 2011 in New York City.
Crystal Bowersox poses backstage after the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Musician Crystal Bowersox at the Mastercard Priceless Premieres Presents Justin Timberlake event, on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at Roseland Ballroom in New York City, New York.
Kimberley Locke, Rickey Smith and Vanessa Olivarez. (Getty Images)
Kimberley Locke arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Contestant Melinda Doolittle attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 finalists held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
Singer Melinda Doolittle attends the Red Tie Gala Hosted by Blood:Water Mission and sponsored by Noodle & Boo at Hutton Hotel on November 21, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Getty Images)
Danny Gokey of Milwaukee, Wis., a finalist on "American Idol," mugs for photographers at the American Idol Top 13 Party in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 5, 2009. (AP Photo)
Danny Gokey arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Indeed, Fuller, who worked in music publishing and A&R before managing artists like the Spice Girls, is already planning American Idol, "the next generation." Over the course of an hour on a recent afternoon, he talked to THR about the next steps in the evolution of Idol, while looking back at series' early years.

How important is it to you to preserve the legacy of American Idol?

Simon Fuller: For the last 15 seasons we've been very protective of the TV show. We've never done more than one season a year. The touring and merchandising has always been thoughtful. I think we've had great integrity [in] protecting the brand so it wasn't tarnished. So here we are facing our last season on Fox and now the legacy can be more in our focus. Now we can catch our breath. It allows me to rethink the show for the first time. When you're a No. 1 show, it's hard to be too bold and brazen about changing the format because it's working and succeeding. Also, you're always rushing to get the next season completed. Now we start with a clean sheet of paper.

See photos of all of the "American Idol" winners over the years:

14 PHOTOS
American Idol Winners
See Gallery
'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller: The show 'will be coming back for sure'

Kelly Clarkson

(Photo via Getty Images)

Ruben Studdard

(Photo via Getty Images)

Fantasia Barrino

(Photo via Getty Images)

Carrie Underwood

(Photo via AP)

Taylor Hicks

(Photo via AP)

Jordin Sparks

(Photo via AP)

David Cook

(Photo via Getty Images)

Kris Allen

(Photo via Getty Images)

Lee DeWyze

(Photo via Getty Images)

Scotty McCreery

(Photo via Getty Images)

Phillip Phillips

(Photo via Getty Images)

Candice Glover

(Photo via Getty Images)

Caleb Johnson

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage via Getty Images)

Nick Fradiani

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read More: 'American Idol' Cancels Summer Tour

The broadcasting landscape has changed so much since Idol debuted. How will streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu affect the next incarnation of the series?

There are loads of ideas being shared and I'm deep in thought about how we can evolve Idol. We debuted at the very beginning of the digital world. So the next generation of Idol will be a lot more interactive, a lot more immersive. For me the most exciting thing is we can really now dive deep with all the new technology that's coming. My head is exploding with opportunities. The next generation of Idol -- and Idol will certainly be coming back for sure -- will have a youthful glow and it will be pioneering again, just as it was when we first began.

How do you feel going into the final week of Idol on Fox?

The overriding emotion is pride. It's been an amazing 15 years and it's the first time ever that I've been able to look back and think, wow, that was pretty good. We made our mark; we made history. It's exceeded all expectations. In the entertainment industry, you very rarely get to look back. For the first time, I've managed to do that in these past two or three weeks and that will carry me through the finale. Saying goodbye to a lot of people I may not work with again, that's the only sadness for me. [Along with] my partners at Fremantle, I think the group [working on the] show has been pretty much the same since day one. I'm pleased that the final show will still have the warmth and the excitement as the first show 15 seasons ago. In many ways it still feels youthful.

Observing the studio audiences over the years, it's clear that Idol has appealed to all ages and that's its been one of the rare series entire families watch together.

I think that's certainly one of the legacy points. It was a show that the family could watch. Music unites people. Whether you're five or you're 55 or 85, the musical tastes of the world are more aligned than they ever have been. There was a time when what a teenager liked would be polar opposite to what their parents would like. That's not the case anymore.

Looking back on the 15 years, what are your personal highlights?

The first season finale with Kelly [Clarkson] and Justin [Guarini], I thought that was a very special moment. Finding Carrie Underwood was significant. When you saw her, even in her innocent, raw state, you knew she had the potential to be a big star. Kelly and Carrie represent the purity of Idol...; the perfect American dream. I think Chris Daughtry's journey was a significant one. People thought he had a good chance of winning and he got knocked out early, but his talent saw him through. It allowed him in some ways to reinvent himself and create Daughtry the band, so he had this rock persona that maybe would have been a little bit harder for him to achieve if he had been a solo winner and won the whole show. And he went on to sell millions of records and so in the most unlikely way, he achieved all his dreams too.

Do you have a favorite performance?

I have so many. Adam Lambert doing "Mad World" was one of my favorites. It was unexpected and magnificent.

Read More: 'American Idol' Farewell: Pundits and Bloggers Reflect on 15 Years of Covering the Show

Have you thought about the impact that the show has had on the economy?

I quite often think about that. It's something that hasn't been recognized as much as it should have been. Whether that's all the people employed, the hotels that have been booked, the hundreds of thousands of concert tickets sold, all that music that's been sold, all the merchandise, all those people that are fueling other shows, Broadway and the movies that our stars have been in. The advertisers that have bought into the show. We had that wonderful close relationship with iTunes for many years. The impact of Idol and its value is billions and billions.

How did Idol's relationship with the music industry change over the years?

I created Idol to find another path to break artists -- I could see them [perform] and engage with the the audience who would, in a way, tell me who they felt was interesting and who they believed could go on and be a star. It was a new paradigm -- a new way to take an artist and music to the consumer, and have them buy the songs and go and see the concerts. I didn't need the music industry. So initially, there was a little bit of resentment. Not overt, more like -- Well, hang on, this is bypassing the development process, the A&R process, the talent scout process, the producing and it can't have value because you can't do that. It's too quick, no one's paid their dues, they haven't learned their trade, it can't be good enough, it can't be appropriate. And so there was a little bit of disdain toward Idol. But the success was massive all over the world -- this was happening in England, in Germany, in Australia, in South Africa, in Sweden, in India -; everywhere young, new artists were selling millions of records and being No. 1 in every country in the world -- you could not ignore it. We worked with Sony for many years and then Universal. We embraced the industry; we didn't alienate it. And then, guess what? Everyone wanted to be on a TV show, everyone wanted to create a TV show and there were hundreds of them around the world.

I like to think that Idol helped the music industry grow up a bit and understand that music can be everywhere. It was a point when the music industry was going through so much change; it was the advent of the digital age. The digital world shocked the music industry. They withdrew into their own world rather than step out and be strident and confident. And I was strident and confident. I just went for it. And I think the success I had gave everybody confidence.

Do you recall where you were when the first kernel of the idea to create American Idol came into your mind?

At my house in the South of France. I would spend my summers there. The first thoughts of what this could were: how do you use the internet and create an interactive experience where people can affect the outcome or choose the songs than an artist would sing, or choose the members? I have had so many great ideas there. It's the time when I can relax and I'm not doing anything and I'm the most comfortable.

What else is on your plate right now?

I've got a diverse company that [includes] my fashion businesses with Victoria and David Beckham and Roland Mouret. I'm active in many different sports. I just acquired the Miami soccer franchise with David Beckham. We found the land to build our stadium; last week we closed on that. I'm doing a new TV show for the BBC, which is quite different from what I've done previously, which I'll keep secret [for now], but it's a very exciting project, with a global perspective. I'm very excited about the new technologies. I'm working with a company called Pulse, creating a virtual pop star. I've spent a whole lot of time thinking about this, I've been waiting for the technology to be good enough to make it happen. We have the digital rights for Elvis Presley and we're building a virtual reality show around him. We're still launching new artists and we still have Annie Lennox and Aloe Blacc so music is still very prominent in all that I do.

Where do you feel most at home these days?

I love Los Angeles. I come from England and lived in London for many years. My wife is American and when we were dating she moved to live with me in London. Then we got married and when we had Grace, our first child, Natalie wanted to move to America. I said, "Let's go!" and that was six years ago and I love living here. I love American people and I feel so at home. I'm happy here. Los Angeles is an extraordinary city. It's always been an important city but now it's an essential city. If you have any aspirations in tech or in entertainment you have to be in Los Angeles. Fashion is moving here. It's a truly great city.

Read Full Story

People are Reading