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2002 -- Our Love Affair With 'American Idol' Begins

'American Idol': A Stroll Down Memory Lane


When did America fall in love with American Idol?
2002 -- Our Love Affair With 'American Idol' Begins

American Idol logo courtesy of Fox.

On June 11, 2002, American Idol, whose premise was borrowed from the hit UK talent show Pop Idol, made its debut in America with an estimated 9.9 million viewers tuning in. In June 2002, the reality shows airing on network TV were Dog Eat Dog and Bachelorettes in Alaska.  Needless to say, America was ready for a new reality show that would sweep us off our feet.

In came American Idol. This show was new and exciting. We had seen talent shows on television before, but none with a judge like Simon Cowell. The first time Cowell (who was one of the original judges on Pop Idol) hurt the feelings of a singer who hurt his ear drums, we knew this show was far from Ed McMahon's Star Search.

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