"American Idol" first aired on Fox on June 11, 2002, and went off the air on April 7, 2016. At one time, it was one of the most popular shows on television with more than 38 million viewers. Only 13.3 million people were still around to watch the finale. Even that number of viewers was more than it had been during the last three seasons.

Viewers thought they would never see the return of the show. Throughout the last two years, there was talk that it would return. On Sunday, March 11, 2018, "American Idol" will be on people's television screens once again.

The producers are continuing with Season 16 as if there had not been a two-year gap on another network.

Something old, something new

"American Idol" producers say the format will be the same. However, the show will return to television on a new network with something old and something new. ABC is the new network that has ordered 19 episodes to air over 38 hours on Sunday and Monday nights.

Ryan Seacrest, who hosted the popular singing competition show for 15 years, will return to host the reality show once again. The 43-year-old host received an Emmy nomination for his past performance on "American Idol." He will be the something old, but there are three new judges. Fans of the show are anxious to see how the new judges will compare to the various other celebrities who judged previous episodes.

The judges

The judges are Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. The judges will bring their own personalities and style to the judges' panel. They are all musicians whose careers are in different genres.

On May 16, 2017, an official announcement confirmed that Katy Perry, whose real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, was the first one selected to be a judge. The 33-year-old singer and songwriter has been in the business for 15 years. Her singing style is pop/rock, but she will do a fantastic job judging other singing styles.

On September 24, 2017, Luke Bryan, whose real name is Thomas Luther Bryan, was the second judge announced. The 41-year old country singer has had a career since 2006. His knowledge of singing makes him qualified to judge the competition.

Lionel Richie was the last judge selected. It was announced on September 29, 2017, that he would fill the final seat. The 68-year-old judge brings his expertise as a longtime singer, songwriter, and record producer. Guest judges may occasionally be invited. For now, Perry, Bryan, and Richie are the only judges scheduled to appear.