- Katherine Meizel
American television show. Developed by the music executive Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment, American Idol is one of more than 40 “Idol” programs that have been televised around the world, each designed for a particular nation or region. The show was first broadcast on British television as Pop Idol in 2001, before airing in the United States on the Fox Network the following year. American Idol itself has been broadcast in more than half of all sovereign states.
Its format draws on forerunners including Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour, Star Search, Popstars, and The Eurovision Song Contest and invites viewers to vote, typically by telephone or text message, in the election of a new pop star. Candidates vying for a recording contract are chosen by producers through a series of open auditions. When the voting episodes begin, contestants’ live weekly performances are critiqued by a panel of judges. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul served as the initial panel of judges for ...