SEACREST, OUT: FOX TO SHUT DOWN IDOL

American Idol’s upcoming season 15, which will begin airing next to January with host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr., will be its last. Fox made the announcement on Monday.

The show, which premiered in 2002, spawned Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Jordin Sparks. But in recent years the only artists to have more than 15 minutes of fame are Phillip Phillips and Scotty McCreery.

Idol’s high-water mark came in 2006, when it averaged a mind-blowing 31.1 million viewers. But the ratings gradually declined in subsequent years, impacted by the exits of franchise players Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Although his X Factor never gained traction and was cancelled after three seasons, NBC’s The Voice has been a big success, pulling away Idol viewers. The series is averaging an all-time low of 11 million viewers in its current 14th season.

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