'American Idol' Judges Lineup for Season 3 Reportedly 'in Flux'

While Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry show fantastic chemistry on American Idol and the show is poised to get a third season on ABC, the judges' table might see some changes next season.

ABC and series producer FreemantleMedia North America recently started talks about offering new talent deals to the all-star trio, reports Variety. ABC wants to see the show take a slot on the schedule for the foreseeable future, but only if the costs could come down. The network has seen only decent ratings for the show's second run on its schedule.

Idol's two-hour Sunday episodes are averaging 8.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic in Live+7 day viewing, making it ABC's second-highest rated reality show behind only The Bachelor. Monday episodes average 8.3 million viewers and a 1.5 rating.

ABC and Freemantle have moved slowly when it comes to Idol's future because it is not expected to play a big role in ABC's upfront presentation before advertisers at David Geffen Hall Tuesday. Still, Variety points out the lack of action only serves to highlight ABC's desire to make Idol a cheaper show to produce.

Idol original ran 14 seasons on Fox, until 2016. One reason for the show's cancellation was the cost of keeping the judges each season, and the panel became a game of musical chairs towards the end.

However, ABC faces the same issue. Perry made headlines for earning $25 million for her first season, while Richie cashed in a $10 million paycheck and Bryan took home $12 million. Host Ryan Seacrest, who is believed to be under a long-term deal with the show, earned $12 million for his first season back.

These salaries were much higher than the last Fox Idol crop. Jennifer Lopez earned $15 million for the last season, while Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. earned $3.5 million each.

Even with the costs, ABC still needs Idol to fill up a chunk of the second-half of the TV season. Since Disney bought 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, there was an executive shuffle that left ABC with a bland slate of new shows.


ABC has only ordered two new sitcoms, the Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish and United We Fall. The network ordered four new dramas, including Emergence, an ABC Studios-produced show that NBC first ordered to pilot. Rather than let Emergence disappear, ABC rescued it and put in a series order. The series stars Fargo's Allison Tolman.

Photo credit: ABC