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Fox’s ‘The Four’ Tries to Distract from ‘American Idol’s Debut on ABC

Jason Ginsburg

Jason Ginsburg

Fox

Is Fox trolling ABC?


The network canceled American Idol after 15 seasons. But instead of simply disappearing, the show was picked up by ABC, which will air a new season starting March 11.

With its ratings juggernaut now on ABC, and America’s Got Talent and The Voice delivering big numbers to NBC, and CBS eyeing its own singing competition, Fox needed something similar, and fast.

The result is The Four: Battle for Stardom. It debuts January 4. Fox’s top reality-programming executive Rob Wade said the show would probably last no more than eight episodes — meaning it will finish its entire run before Idol returns.


Coincidence?

In that same interview, Fox’s Wade said the network was trying to avoid Idol, but by airing after it, not before. He hinted at summer or even fall 2018. Instead, the show was jammed into the few months between The Voice‘s finale and Idol’s debut. One can’t help but suspect that the entire point is to rain on Idol’s parade.


ABC is learning that the talent-competition game can be pretty rough. A few months ago, the network had wanted Idol winner Kelly Clarkson to return to the show that made her a star, but it lost her to The Voice, where she’ll be a coach for Season 14 next year. If you’re scoring at home, that’s Fox 1, NBC 1, ABC 0.

Of course, none of this explains the The Four’s concept, starting with “finalists” who aren’t really finalists, since every week there’s at least one new challenger. Are the original Four supposed to be the best? Are the challengers supposed to be better? Can Diddy tolerate not being the star of the show? And when Fox’s Wade says The Four  is “like Game of Thrones, with better singing and less nudity,” does he know why people watch Game of Thrones? It’s not to see Ed Sheeran.

Talent Recap has reached out to the network and the production company for answers to these and other mysteries. If you have opinions or theories, add them to the comments.

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