If everything goes as planned, American Idol fans will see Bobby Bones' return as a mentor for Season 4 of the show's ABC run — although he likely won't be filming the whole season. Ahead of Idol's spring 2021 return, The Bobby Bones Show host opened up about his busy schedule on our series PopCulture @ Home, revealing his filming schedule for Nat Geo's Breaking Bobby Bones has made a full season Idol return impossible.
Breaking Bobby Bones should debut "early next year," the country radio star told PopCulture.com, as long as the crew is able to continue safely shooting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the new Nat Geo show, Bones travels around the country finding people with stories similar to his, overcoming "big obstacles" to come into their own in "some sort of interesting job or hobby or skill."
"So I not only am getting their story, I'm learning what they do, and then I compete or try to live at what they do," he explained. "Hopefully, COVID doesn't slow us down; I can finish and, when it's over, get over to American Idol. Because I have to miss the first half of the season, but my goal is to get back by Hollywood Week. Hopefully, 'cause Disney has both shows, not only mine on Nat Geo, but American Idol, they're going to let me bounce around. So hopefully, I'll get over to American Idol, and be able to do that."
Idol doesn't have plans to bring anyone else in to replace Bones during the first part of the season, which the Dancing With the Stars winner admitted will be "a bit weird" without the ability to travel around the country for in-person auditions. "My role was out there with people getting them ready to go perform, and so, honestly, they probably didn't need me that much anyway, because of the new rules," he told PopCulture. "I think next year, we'll probably be back to normal, so when Hollywood Week happens, right now, we're planning on having folks back performing in person. So if that happens, that'd be great."
Bones is also making sure to give back during his busy season, partnering with Purina Dog Chow for their Service Dog Salute campaign to help veterans connect with much-needed service dogs. "So many of our vets have been over, and they fought, and they come back, and a lot of them have PTSD, or they have other issues and service dogs ... help them so much in adjusting back to a normal life," he explained. "The thing is — service dogs, they're about $20,000 apiece."
With less than 1 percent of veterans in need able to obtain a service dog, Purina Dog Chow is raising money to purchase these dogs for veterans. If you buy a specially-marked bag from now through Thanksgiving, Purina will make a donation, up to $100,000, to their two partner service dog organizations: the Pets and Vets program at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation and Got Your Six Support Dogs. For more information on the Service Dog Salute, click here. "It's just a real fantastic organization, and I love that Purina Dog Chow makes it a priority," Bones said. "And that's why I was excited to come be a part of it."