“American Idol,” one of the most popular and dominant reality shows to appear on television but one that has been on the wane for several years, will end after its 15th season concludes in 2016.
Fox made the announcement Monday in advance of its upfront presentation, the network’s annual pitch to advertisers previewing its fall lineup.
The decision will end a show that not only established itself as a ratings powerhouse — it averaged more than 30 million viewers one season — but spawned a series of amateur singing competitions that strove to duplicate its successful formula, including “The X Factor’’ and “The Voice.’’
Over the years, “Idol’’ was responsible for starting the careers of stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
The singing competition show began in 2002 and was a huge success just as reality shows began sweeping through all of television. Its acerbic, wisecracking judge, Simon Cowell, became a star in the United States. It consistently led prime-time shows in ratings and became a huge driver of profits for Fox.
It also became influential in the cultural conversation surrounding television as its seasons gained momentum, and built suspense, in progressing toward the selection of an eventual winner.
Despite judging casting changes and sagging viewership in recent years, it saw a temporary bump this year from showing the same night as Fox’s big first-year hit, “Empire.”
But the steady decline in ratings, especially in the 18-49 age group coveted by advertisers, finally led Fox to its decision.
The last season of “American Idol” will begin in January. The longtime host Ryan Seacrest will be joined this season by the judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
Another old Fox hit, “The X-Files,” will return as a limited series in January, and its first episode will be shown after Fox’s broadcast of the always highly rated NFC Championship Game. The stars of the original show, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, will both return.
The biggest new hit on TV this season, “Empire,” will return on Wednesdays at 9 p.m., and begin this September, Fox said. The show is expected to run up to 18 episodes next season, up from the 12 this year.
Fox, which is the fourth-rated broadcast network, will introduce a series of new shows, after several flops last season. The new lineup includes “Lucifer,” which is based on a DC Comics story, and “Minority Report,” based off the futuristic 2002 Tom Cruise movie.
Ryan Murphy’s “Glee” ended with little fanfare this year, but he will return with a new show, “Scream Queens,” which stars Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis. John Stamos will lead a new comedy called “Grandfathered,” and Rob Lowe and Fred Savage will star in “The Grinder.” Both shows will be shown on Tuesday.
Also on Monday, NBC will unveil its new lineup of shows. New shows include a Neil Patrick Harris variety show, a “Heroes” reboot titled “Heroes Reborn,” and another Chicago-based show from the Law & Order creator Dick Wolf.