'American Idol' will return to TV on March 11 2018.

Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest

ABC announced in May that they were rebooting the Fox series - which came to an end in 2015 after 13 years on screen - and now returning host Ryan Seacrest has revealed when fans can first catch a glimpse of new judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan giving their verdict over the contestants.

Ryan confirmed the show's 8pm time slot and premiere date on 'Live with Ryan and Kelly' on Monday (06.11.17).

Auditions for the programme began in August and spanned 23 US cities, though hopefuls could also showcase their skills via online videos, social media, and a live-stream platform.

The dedicated hashtag #TheNextIdol generated over 300,000 posts.

'Swish Swish' singer Katy was the first judge to sign up for the show, with a contract of $25 million, meaning executives had to smash their budget to secure the rest of the panel.

A source said recently: "ABC was originally going to spend no more than $50 million on talent. They had to expand their budget for Lionel."

Katy's staggering salary was personally signed off by ABC President Ben Sherwood.

But it's been claimed that Katy's fortune has come at the expense of the other judges, both of whom are being paid considerably less to appear on the show.

The insider said: "Ben Sherwood blew the budget on Katy without thinking how that would impact other areas of the show budget. He gambled on her because of her appeal to a younger audience and huge social-media following.

"But Katy is effectively taking money from the other judges, who then had to be paid way less."

In the end, though, the ABC network has been forced to increase its budget for the show in order to secure the services of Lionel and Luke.

The source explained: "The negotiations with Luke and Lionel have been fraught and difficult because of [Katy's deal].

"They expected similar deals to Katy, but are, in fact, getting a hell of a lot less. In the end, ABC had to cough up a second round of money to sign the other judges."

The duo were both initially offered deals worth around $2.5 million each, but Luke and Lionel ultimately reached an agreement for around $7 million each.

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