By JOE OTTERSON MARCH 27, 2020 9:54AM PT Joe Otterson
ABC is shuffling the schedule of “American Idol” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The broadcaster will air pre-taped episodes on both March 29 and April 5 rather than airing both episodes in the same week. Live shows were set to begin April 6, but that is no longer the case.
The singing competition series is well known for airing live shows, but given the current ban in many U.S. states on large gatherings, ABC announced Friday, “Regarding ‘American Idol’ live shows, we are monitoring the situation and exploring multiple options within statewide guidelines. We will share a production plan as soon as it’s in place.”
Now, ABC will air a rerun of “Celebrity Family Feud” on March 30 at 8 p.m. ET followed by a special edition of “20/20” about the coronavirus and then the season finale of “The Good Doctor.”
On April 6, ABC will run encores of “Celebrity Family Feud,” the primetime special “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,” and the ABC News special “Secrets and Surprises.”
Special episodes of “American Idol” will then run on both April 12 and April 19 titled “American Idol: This Is Me,” which are said to explore the lives of the top 20 contestants this season with previously unaired footage and performance highlights.
This marks the latest programming shift as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of slowing in the United States. Numerous shows have had to suspend production and cut their seasons short due to fears of cast and crew members contracting the virus and then spreading it to other people.
ABC is ploughing ahead with American Idol’s live shows – albeit remotely.
The network revealed that it has scheduled a two-hour show on Sunday April 26 at 8pm that will see judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie coming to audiences remotely with Ryan Seacrest and Bobby Bones. The top 20 contestants will be performing for America’s vote remotely.
Richie and Perry will be judging from her homes in California, while Bryan will be judging from his home in Nashville with contestants performing at their own homes.
This comes after the Coronavirus pandemic halted traditional production for its live shows.
It also follows an update from Katy Perry over the weekend. The judge took to Facebook, dressed in an Easter Bunny costume, to say, “We’re gonna all have to be really creative — I know we are going to be really creative.”
The network bought itself a little time to explore multiple options for these by spreading two episodes set in set in Aulani, across two weeks rather than one. Those eps aired on on Sunday March 29 and Sunday April 5 rather than on March 29 and March 30.
The live shows were set to kick off on Monday April 6 but instead were replaced by two repeats of Celebrity Family Feud, followed by primetime special, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Secrets & Surprises, produced by ABC News.
This weekend, it aired American Idol: This is Me, which looked at the lives of our Top 20 contestants, with unseen footage and performance highlights on Sunday April 12 and the second part of this special will air Sunday April 19.
This comes after prep work on the live shows, including rehearsals with the finalists, was suspended. Contestants went home to be with their families amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak. The decision by American Idol producer Fremantle, which makes the show in association with Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment, was made following Los Angeles County’s strict guidelines prohibiting large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Fremantle has instituted working remotely as editing on the final pre-taped Idol episodes continues. Because of its scope and number of hours delivered, American Idol has a large producing team and employs a big crew.
I hope it works out well. I loved seeing Ryan hosting the DISNEY SING_A_LONG. Of course all these people were pros and it was filmed whereas AI will be live ( I think) and they are all not pros...but glad we will have something to see.
American Idol will sing another song for ABC after the network renewed the Fremantle talent contest for a fourth season.
However, the network on Friday did not reveal whether the judges — Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie — along with host Ryan Seacrest, would return. Perry is pregnant and expected to have her baby later this summer, so there are question marks about whether she will return.
The renewal will bring the total number of seasons for the long-running format to 19 in the U.S., having previously aired on Fox between 2002-2016.
The news comes comes ahead of the current season’s live finale Sunday, when the show will crown its next singing sensation in slightly unusual circumstances; the show had returned from the COVID-19 shutdown April 26 with remotely produced episodes.
Kicking off the finale event following America’s last nationwide vote, the road comes to an end for two contestants when the top 5 are revealed. Then, America’s real-time vote will determine the winner live on the East Coast broadcast.
Finale performances include Cynthia Erivo, who is set to star in Nat Geo’s Genius as Aretha Franklin, performing a medley of songs from the Queen of Soul with the top 11: Lauren Daigle and the Top 5 will perform “You Say”; Rascal Flatts and Doug Kiker will perform “Bless the Broken Road”; Bryan will perform his new single, “One Margarita”; Perry will perform her new single “Daisies”; and Richie will perform “We are the World” joined by his fellow judges, the top 11 and members of the Idol family.