How’s this for an encore? Fox’s American Idol, which wrapped its 15-year run in April, is set to receive the 2016 Governors Award from the TV Academy “in recognition of its game-changing impact on the medium.” The award honors an individual or organizational achievement in the television arts and sciences that is so exceptional and universal in nature, it goes beyond the scope of annual Emmy recognition.
Created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, the singing competition topped the U.S. primetime rankings for a record eight years. It launched the careers of such stars as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia Barrino and others. The series earned 59 Emmy noms and won eight.
“American Idol wasn’t just a hit show. With its successful integration of social media, dominance of the pop-culture conversation and legions of imitators, it changed television in a profound way,” said Michael Levine, chair of the Governors Award Selection Committee. “You could meaningfully divide the history of television into ‘before American Idol’ and ‘after American Idol’.”
Previous recipients of the Governors Award since its 1978 launch include William S. Paley; Masterpiece Theater; Comic Relief; the ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC networks for America: A Tribute to Heroes; and last year’s honoree, A+E Networks.