Former Fox Broadcasting entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly believes that the network made the right decision by ending “American Idol” this season.
“The show was extraordinary, one of a kind,” Reilly said on Thursday, during the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California. “But now was the time for it to be over.”
“Look, one of the things about [‘American Idol’] was that it was 59 hours of our schedule,” he continued. “When you have almost 100 hours between ‘X-Factor’ and ‘Idol,’ and it’s going down, there’s not a lot you can do. … At Fox, the last couple years was not a lot of fun.”
Reilly served as the chairman of entertainment at Fox from 2007-2014 before departing to become the president of TBS and TNT and chief creative officer for Turner Entertainment Networks.
Fans prepared to say goodbye to “American Idol” on Wednesday, when Part 1 of its farewell season premiere allowed Fox to finish in first place across primetime. Unfortunately, the outgoing singing competition hit an all-time premiere low in the process.
The two-hour premiere pulled in a 2.9 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 10.9 million total viewers, according to preliminary numbers.
Despite finishing first in the ratings, some were unimpressed with the premiere, including Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken.
“Watching @americanidol for the first time in a decade. You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone,” Aiken said in the first of a series of tweets making fun of the show as it began its 15th and last season. “Well… now I know why the ratings are down,” he wrote in another tweet.