With American Idol moving on to what it hopes will be greener pastures over at ABC this spring and NBC's The Voice still a ratings juggernaut, Fox was looking for a singing-competition series that would set it apart from those other shows: The Four. Created by Armoza Formats for an early 2018 debut, the series can best be described as a "full contact singing competition" that starts where other shows usually wrap up: with the final four contestants.
Take a look at the brief teaser for the series from Fox below:
So here's how it works: four singers who made it through a series of competitive auditions begin the season as "The Four." On a weekly basis and over the course of the season, the four contestants will have to defend their spots from challengers looking to take their place. If any of the original four are bested by their challengers, they will be sent home and replaced by the challenger – who must then defend their spot on the show from challengers.
Now this is where it gets interesting, because almost anyone can become a challenger. Whether you're an amateur singer or a fan watching at home, you can submit an audition tape that the audience (not judges) will vote on. At the end of the season, the four remaining competitors will compete against one as a panel of judges awards them the ultimate prize: a recording contract and a chance at stardom.
For Fox, the hope is that The Four can bring back some of the ratings gold that the network enjoyed during American Idol's run. The show was a ratings juggernaut for Fox during most of its 15-season run, holding the honor of being television's highest-rated series for eight consecutive years during that time. Low ratings in key advertising demographics combined with a declining social media "buzz" in comparison to shows like NBC's The Voice led Fox to cancel the series in 2016.
The problem for Fox since then? Even though Idol had seen better days, it was still a solid ratings earner for the network; and since it was cancelled, Fox has yet to find a series to make up for it. Even more daunting for Fox is that the odds are not in their favor: The Voice was the last successful singing competition series to premiere…and that was in 2011.
The Four is produced by ITV Entertainment; with Becca Walker, David Friedman, David George, Adam Sher, David Eilenberg, Moshiko Cohen, Elwin Vizetelly de Groot, and Nehama Cohen are set as executive producers.