Disney’s highly-anticipated streaming service Disney+ is set to launch this November. With programming from all across the empire of the mouse, could American Idol – broadcast by Disney-owned network ABC – be included?
Reality TV – competitive programming in particular – is much more prominent on broadcast television than streaming platforms. The reason for this is clear: they’re often broadcast live and their results are often determined by at-home viewer voting. But programs that are entirely pre-taped have been known to be housed by streaming services; Netflix has archived seasons of shows like Cake Boss: Next Great Baker and CBS All Access has every season of Survivor and Big Brother.
But would people be inclined to watch old seasons of talent shows like American Idol? Unlike the aforementioned examples of reality TV on streaming services, there isn’t really a lot of “rewatch value” of these shows, at least when it comes to the full episodes because they don’t have a “story” structure like others do. The performances, judge comments, and sometimes the clip packages are usually uploaded to YouTube, so fans are already able to revist those of their choice without having to sit through a whole episode to get to it.
There is certainly an argument to be made for older seasons of talent shows that haven’t had their performance clips uploaded online to be included on streaming services. (For the most part these are seasons of shows that aired in the pre-YouTube era of reality TV.) If Disney’s acquisition of FOX included the older seasons of American Idol, there could be a strong case for the show to be brought onto Disney+.