R.I.P. 'American Idol'

5/11/2015 5:58 AM PDT

'American Idol' Cancelled -- Former King of Reality Shows Hanging It Up in 2016

Breaking News

"American Idol" -- once the king of all reality shows and the godfather of shows like "The Voice" and "The X Factor" -- will be sent off to pasture in 2016. It was 15 seasons old. 

"Idol" began in 2002 and at its height averaged 30 million viewers a season. The show introduced Simon Cowell to the United States and made Ryan Seacrest a household name. 

Among the singers who owe their careers to the show: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Taylor Hicks. "Idol" even briefly brought Paula Abdul back into the limelight. 

Fact is ... on multiple levels it's one of the most successful shows in the history of television. 

The final season of the show will begin next January.