AP Television Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Fox is lowering the curtain on "American Idol," ending a series that dominated television throughout the 2000s and made stars of the likes of Simon Cowell, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
The network announced Monday that "American Idol" will go off the air after its 15th and final season next spring. The cast from the past few seasons, with Ryan Seacrest as host and Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. as judges, will return for a season-long celebration of the show's history.
"American Idol" faded over the past few years, eclipsed in the music competition genre it pioneered by "The Voice" on NBC. Personnel changes didn't help, and neither did tinkering with the format, as the show fell victim to what usually kills off most television series - old age.
Still, it was a solid performer for a Fox network that struggles for ratings. The ascension of "Empire" last winter gave Fox another music-based series it can count on.
"Idol" was a quick hit, with fans following contestants who sought the prized "yellow ticket" to Hollywood and a chance at stardom. In the early years, "American Idol" also showed many of the cringe-worthy auditions of contestants with no hope of winning, but has generally resisted those recently.
Simon Cowell, the Brit with a tart tongue and honest assessments, became a star as judge, along with his fellow originals, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
The big-voiced Clarkson became a major pop star after winning "Idol," and Underwood is a solid performer on the country charts. Personalities like Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken also became household names after competing on "Idol."
Television Writer Lynn Elber in New York contributed to this report.
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