The Television Academy has announced American Idol – which recently ended its unprecedented 15-season run on FOX – as the recipient of the 2016 Governors Award in recognition of its game-changing impact on the medium.
The award honors an individual or organizational achievement in the television arts and sciences that is so exceptional and universal in nature, it goes beyond the scope of annual Emmy Awards recognition.
"American Idol wasn't just a hit show. With its successful integration of social media, dominance of the pop-culture conversation and legions of imitators, it changed television in a profound way," said Governors Award Selection Committee Chair Michael Levine. "You could meaningfully divide the history of television into 'before American Idol' and 'after American Idol'."
Simon Fuller created the wildly popular singing competition, which ran from June 11, 2002 to April 7, 2016 on FOX.
For an unmatched eight consecutive years, American Idol ranked No. 1 in U.S. television ratings and played to a worldwide audience of 460 million across 53 countries. Its innovations in audience participation through text-based and mobile voting led to nearly a billion votes cast throughout its run.
Produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, the groundbreaking series received 59 Emmy nominations and won eight Emmys. Additionally, American Idol's talented discoveries have won 13 Grammys, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award, among numerous other accolades.
The show also had a profound impact on the music industry, launching the careers of superstars Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, among many others. Idol contestants have sold more than 60 million albums, resulting in more than 80 Platinum records and 95 Gold records. Its participants have generated more than 450 Billboard No. 1 hits and sold more than 260 million digital downloads.
Previous recipients of the Governors Award, which debuted in 1978, include William S. Paley, Hallmark Cards, Inc., Masterpiece Theater, Comic Relief, the ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC networks for America: A Tribute To Heroes, the "It Gets Better" Project and last year's honoree, A+E Networks.
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