“American Idol” has gone through a lot of changes the past few seasons as the judges played musical chairs – leaving and being replaced each season. However, the Fox reality show just lost something more important than a judge: a major sponsor. Coca-Cola, one of the leading brand partners of “American Idol” throughout its run, confirmed Tuesday that it's ditching the show before the Season 14 premiere in January.
According to Variety, the beverage company, whose logo has been a mainstay on the cups used by the judges on-air, is cutting ties with “Idol.” The company told Variety, “After 13 years, we feel it is the right time for the Coca-Cola brand to venture into new spaces and pursue other opportunities to connect with teens and leverage music as a passion point.” Coke’s departure follows that of AT&T, which pulled out as a sponsor in January 2014.
Coca-Cola's leaving comes at a time when “American Idol” has been trying to adapt to slipping ratings. “Idol” once dominated the ratings, hitting a high of 36 million viewers per night in 2006, but it averaged only 15.9 million viewers last season. In response to the slide, the show announced it will combine its performance and results episodes and will air just one night a week in 2015.
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that “American Idol” is on its way out, but how much longer it will last remains unclear; perhaps the new format can keep the show afloat a little longer.
Season 14 of “American Idol” premieres on Fox on Jan. 7, 2015. Singers Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will return as judges.
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