Fox exec calls ABC's 'American Idol' reboot 'fraudulent,' reveals network planned 2020 revival


Fox CEO and chairman, Dana Walden, admits that she "feels bad" knowing that American Idol will be airing on another network.

During a conference call as part of the network's upfronts in New York City on Monday, Walden revealed that Fox did make an offer to FreemantleMedia -- the production company behind Idol -- to have the singing show return to TV on their network in 2020, but lost out to ABC, who plans to revive the program as early as 2018.

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Walden explained that after 15 seasons of Idol airing on Fox and it only being off the air for a year, network executives thought 2018 would be "way too soon" to have the show make a comeback. "It's obviously a tough one for us," Walden said of losing Idol to ABC. "We tried to engage Fremantle in conversations about bringing it back in '20, which is when we thought it would be an appropriate amount of time off the air and give the creators and the producers the opportunity to make some changes to present the next generation of Idol. ...They just weren't interested in it."

26 PHOTOS
'American Idol' Season 4: Then and Now
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'American Idol' Season 4: Then and Now
The 'American Idol' cast gets wild at the Season 4 Top 12 Finalists Party. Some really puzzling fashion choices here -- even for 2005!

Carrie Underwood: THEN

Carrie Underwood: NOW

More than ten years after taking the 'Idol' crown, she's the bonafide queen of country music.

Jessica Sierra: THEN

Jessica Sierra: NOW

After long-fought battles with drug and alcohol abuse, Jessica was eventually sentenced to a year in rehab. She now has a child of her own and speaks to kids about the dangers of substance abuse.

Anwar Robinson: THEN

Anwar Robinson: NOW

The dreads are gone! He's a music educator and creative arts advocate.

Mikalah Gordon: THEN

Mikalah Gordon: NOW

She has a standing gig every night singing at Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan Hotel. A new web series based on her life premieres this year.

Constantine Maroulis: THEN

Constantine Maroulis: NOW

He's snagged a number of leading Broadway roles, including the title role in "Jekyll and Hyde."

Lindsey Cardinale: THEN

Lindsey Cardinale: NOW

She still makes and performs new music.

Anthony Fedorov: THEN

Anthony Fedorov: NOW

How's that for a makeover? He still makes music and is a proud father. 

Nadia Turner: THEN

Nadia Turner: NOW

Gorgeous!

Bo Bice: THEN

Bo Bice: NOW

Pretty crazy transformation! The rocker continues to make music and recently had a string of shows in Hawaii.

Vonzell Solomon: THEN

Vonzell Solomon: NOW

More like va-va-Vonzell!

Scott Savol: THEN

Scott Savol: NOW

He's mostly kept a low profile since the show.

Nikko Smith: THEN

Nikko Smith: NOW

Still killing the stage!

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Walden further explained why Fox execs thought it was "too early" for an Idol reboot. "All of our research and all of our fan forums supported that notion," she noted. "We did not see the fan excitement and enthusiasm for the show to come back that Fremantle did. We just had a different set of facts."

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"It felt to us, sitting in those initial meetings with Fremantle, like it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly," Walden added. "Our fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then have the show brought back right away. We and Fremantle just had very different points of view."

Meanwhile, Robert Mills, ABC Reality Chief, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about how the network, who's under the Disney umbrella, came to a deal with FreemantleMedia to bring Idol back to TV. "Our idea for Fremantle was to put Idol on in the spring, use the Oscars as a platform and launch it as this big return, around the same time it used to air," he explained. "It was about showing them all of our platforms: We can have auditions in the [Disney] parks; we can amplify, not just at ABC, but with Disney Channel and Freeform. There's a couple of different scenarios about the nights it will air -- and, of course, there's the Ryan Seacrest of it all."

40 PHOTOS
American Idol Finale
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American Idol Finale
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon performs coronation song onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (C) performs coronation song with cast of Season 15 onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R) and finalist La'Porsha Renae embrace onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Season 1 judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and the cast of Season 15 present host Ryan Seacrest with a gift onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 7: Judge Jennifer Lopez performs onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 15 Finale on April 7, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest (L) and Brian Dunkleman speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban enter onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez greets fans onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Trent Harmon (L) and La'Porsha Renae perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest (L) and Brian Dunkleman speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Trent Harmon (L) and La'Porsha Renae perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Fans attend FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Pia Toscano, Kimberley Locke, Allison Iraheta, Jordin Sparks and Tamyra Gray perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Jordin Sparks, Allison Iraheta, Tamyra Gray and Justin Guarini perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jordin Sparks performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Pia Toscano performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jordin Sparks performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Justin Guarini (R) and Jordin Sparks perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Colton Dixon performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Kimberley Locke (L) and Allison Iraheta perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Chris Daughtry performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Bo Bice performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Caleb Johnson, Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, James Durbin and Bo Bice perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Constantine Maroulis (L) and James Durbin perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist James Durbin performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: (L-R) Recording artists Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Constantine Maroulis and Scotty McCreery perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Jessica Sanchez performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Carly Smithson performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Katharine McPhee (L) and Casey James perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 7: Judge Jennifer Lopez performs onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 15 Finale on April 7, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/FOX via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singers Marley Fletcher (L) and Harry Connick, Jr. perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artist Fantasia performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer Candice Glover performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Host Ryan Seacrest speaks in the audience during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: American Idol Season 15 winner Trent Harmon (R), host Ryan Seacrest (L) and finalist La'Porsha Renae speak onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Keith Urban (L) and Carrie Underwood perform onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Seacrest, the former host of Idol, recently signed on as Kelly Ripa's permanent co-host on ABC's Live, and seems open to returning to the singing show. "I don't know, we're still talking about it. I read the GRAMMYs we're coming to New York," he told ET last week. "I was like, 'Gosh, this would be an easier conversation if Idol was in New York,' but it's not my decision."

Seacrest also endorsed Ripa as a possible judge for the Idol reboot. "She is incredible," the 42-year-old TV personality raved of his Live co-host. "She was so remarkable and sincere and lovely when she came on at the last season. I think she'd made a fantastic judge."
Reporting by Philiana Ng.

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