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Interview: 'American Idol' producers talk the show's return

"American Idol" with judges (L-R): Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, host Ryan Seacrest,
and Luke Bryan premieres Sunday, March 11 on ABC.
Photo: ABC
The much talked about “American Idol” returns, this time on ABC on Sunday, March 11 at 8:00 p.m. The same feel-good show is back with fresh faces both in front of and behind the camera. Music superstars Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie take a turn in the judges chairs, handing out golden tickets to Hollywood and getting to know each in the premiere episode. Ryan Seacrest is back as host, talking to the contestants and their families as the hopefuls wait for a chance to audition to be The Next Idol.  

TVMusic Network caught up with "Idol’s" executive producer Trish Kinane and co-executive producer Megan Wolflick for their thoughts on the return. 

TVMusic Netwo
rk: "American Idol" is back. Were you able to keep the same crew and producers behind the scenes that you had previously?

Trishe Kinane:
It’s a mix of old and new. We hardly changed everything. We trained up. A lot of the producers started on these shows and moved up. Some of them have gone off and done other shows now. We’ve trained them to work on other shows. Megan’s been on since Season 2. And we have some fresh blood as well. It’s a really good mix.

TVMusic Network: For the new people that were coming in, what did you tell them were the key points needed in order to give the show 
the same style it always had? 

Megan Wolflick:
I’m going to speak on behalf of Trishe. She’s the most honest person I’ve ever known. Integrity is important to our show. Clarity, Transparency, really showing a true slice of America which we do. I feel like people in America gather that. We’re all about emotions, laughter and warmth…

Trish Kinane: Positivity – just feel good. We want everyone to have a great experience. These kids – there are so many kids with talent and we got everyone going in to have a good experience. With the judges, it’s really just tips. They do their own thing... so its just technical tips really.

TVMusic Network: The show came back pretty quickly from when it originally left the air in 2016. Was there a time when you thought, “maybe I should wait another season or another year or two before returning?”

Trish Kinane: 
No, and I’ll tell you why. This show went off the air with 131/2 million viewers watching The Finale and a 3 rating in the demos. That was The Finale and you could say that maybe people watched it because it was the end. But on average in the 7-day viewing, it had a 2.8 demo with 11 million viewers. That’s a show people want to see. The trouble with the ratings discussion is that “Idol” got these huge ratings 10 years ago, nobody gets that now. So no.

Megan Wolflick: Our fans stayed with us, they were engaging with us the whole time.

Trish Kinane: People want to see this show.

"American Idol" premieres Sunday, March 11 and Monday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. 

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