During 2006's season five, the show's highest-rated season, American Idol averaged nearly 31 million viewers tuning in to watch live or that same day, according to Nielsen ratings. Since then, viewership and audience engagement online have steadily declined, and advertisers such as Coca-Cola (KO), Ford (F)and AT&T (T) -- which once paid tens of millions of dollars to secure slots during the show -- are backing out of their sponsorships.
When American Idol debuted back in June 2002, the singing competition was an instant hit and began to drive profits for Fox. It was based on a British show called Pop Idol, after television executive Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, did some convincing at the network.
American Idol quickly made original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, along with host Ryan Seacrest, celebrity icons. Contestants including Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood went on to have remarkably successful careers.
But Fox has lost a lot of love lately, especially among viewers in the coveted 18-49 age demographic. This season, Fox viewership among that demographic is at its lowest level yet, putting Fox in fourth place in both total viewers and among that audience segment. Fox is scheduled to launch nine new shows in the 2015-2016 television season, hoping to refresh its lineup and garner more support from millennial viewers.
According to Fox, the final season of American Idol will begin in January 2016 and will be a "season-long celebratory event." Seacrest will be back, along with judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
Here's a look back at the Idols crowned during the show's past 14 seasons.