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NBC Execs Say Hiring Kelly Clarkson for ‘Voice’ Not a Reaction to ‘Idol’ Reboot

Variety logo Variety 5/14/2017 Debra Birnbaum
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The news that Kelly Clarkson would be joining “The Voice” as a coach for season 14 — and not ABC’s upcoming reboot of “American Idol” — may have come as a surprise to the industry, but NBC executives insisted that it was a deal a long time in the making. And the same was true of Jennifer Hudson, another “Idol” alum who’s joining “The Voice” for season 13, again instead of “Idol.”

“We’ve been talking to those two for a long time about joining ‘The Voice,'” said NBC’s president of alternative and reality Paul Telegdy, during a conference call with reporters ahead of Monday’s upfront presentation. “They’ve both been great coaches for ‘The Voice.’ We didn’t make the connection” between any potential competition for roles in the upcoming reboot of “Idol.”

NBC did consider “Idol” but ultimately passed on it. “We did have conversations about ‘Idol,’ and recognized the franchise is a great name and title,” said NBC entertainment chair Bob Greenblatt. But he said they ultimately decided they had a full reality slate, given “The Voice” and several other music competition series in development that we may see as early as next summer. “We’re going to keep with our hand,” he told reporters. “We don’t need ‘Idol.'”

Plus, added Telegdy, “The audience hadn’t told us there’s a compelling reason to bring it back, either.”

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