Fox announces ‘American Idol’ to wrap after 15th season

The singing reality show will start its final season in January

In this 2014 file photo, from left, judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. arrive on set of “American Idol” in Los Angeles. Fox announced Monday, May 11 that “Idol” will go off the air after its 15th season next spring. (AP file)

NEW YORK – Fox has announced longtime singing reality show “American Idol” will begin its 15th and final season in January.

The broadcasting company, while trumpeting its new lineup of programming for the 2015-16 TV season, announced “Idol” will hold “a season-long celebratory event … (paying) tribute to the past 14 seasons of amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who tweeted, texted and championed their idols.”

Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., are expected to stay on in their roles for the final season.

The reality show has been a ratings goldmine for much of its run. From season two through season 11, the final performance show and season finales finished in the top five for highest-rated shows of the season.

However, “Idol” has slipped in the Nielsen ratings in recent years. “Idol” averaged more than 20 million viewers every season from 2003 to 2011, averaging nearly 31 million viewers in 2006, according to CNNMoney. “Idol” averaged 10.3 million viewers last season and only 9 million so far this year.

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