Channel 5 poaches American Idol rights

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Channel 5 has acquired the new series of American Idol from distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME). The deal will see season 12 of the show premiere on 5* during the same week as it launches in the USA. The deal is a coup for Channel 5, which has snatched the rights from ITV digital channel ITV2. ITV2 has been airing American Idol in the UK since 2002 but will now stick with 5* for at least the next two series.

Commenting on the deal, Katie Keenan, head of acquisitions, for Channel 5, said: "American Idol is immense. We believe it's going to be a defining show for 5*”. At the same time, she announced that 5* had also acquired Wedding Band, a comedy drama series which is also distributed by FME.

Commenting on the American Idol deal, Justin Hatfield, SVP Sales for UK, Eire and Scandinavia, FME said, “American Idol is one of the world’s biggest and most established entertainment brands. The series has won over audiences globally with its mix of top talent, performances and superstar judging panel. We look forward to working with 5* on what promises to be another smash hit series.”

American Idol's new series will feature a revamped judging lineup including Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Keith Urban after the show’s US audience slipped for season 11. The final of the series was watched by 20.7m viewers.