May 11, 2015 / 4:35 PM / 5 years ago

Curtains for 'American Idol' after 15th season, says Fox

(Reuters) - “American Idol”, the most popular music reality show in U.S. television history, will end after its 15th season airs in January next year, Fox Television said on Monday.

The twelve American Idol XIV finalists attend Fox's American Idol XIV Finalist Party at The District Restaurant in Los Angeles, California March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

The show was once a ratings powerhouse for Fox, watched by more than 30 million viewers at its peak, but the popularity of the competition, which launched the careers of stars such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, has fallen in recent years.

Just 10.6 million viewers tuned in for American Idol’s 2014 finale, compared with 11.6 million for NBC’s rival singing competition “The Voice”.

The final season will feature long-time host Ryan Seacrest and current judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr, Fox said.

Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, said in February last year that it expected to wind down American Idol after lower ratings led to a fall in advertising revenue in the company’s TV unit.

“We’ve known it’s coming to the end,” Chase Carey, president of 21st Century Fox, had said at the time.

A spin-off of British music competition “Pop Idol”, which aired between 2001 and 2003, American Idol’s success led the format being replicated around the world, with shows such as Australian Idol, Latin American Idol and Indian Idol.

Within the United States, American Idol’s resounding success led to a host of similar shows being aired, including “The Voice”, CBS’s “Rock Star”, and Fox’s “The X Factor”.

The show’s original judges were music producer Randy Jackson, who left the show after 13 seasons, singer Paula Abdul, who left in 2009, and Simon Cowell, who left in 2010.

American Idol has since gone through a host of celebrity judges, such as Mariah Carey, Kara Dioguardi, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.

Editing by Joyjeet Das and Simon Jennings

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