Les Moonves: "American Idol" didn't make sense for CBS

"American Idol" will be resurrected at ABC, the network announced last week, but other networks had a chance to consider bringing back the singing competition -- including CBS. But Les Moonves didn't see it as a good fit.

"We were offered 'American Idol' at the time and we looked at it," the CBS chairman and CEO said Wednesday before the network's annual Upfront presentation. "We looked at it. We looked at it very seriously. The economics just didn't make sense for us. For [ABC], it did."

After rumors that NBC was considering reviving the reality show -- which ran for 15 seasons on Fox before ending in 2016 -- ABC announced it would be bringing it back, with Katy Perry signing on to judge. 

When pressed on why CBS decided against the idea, Moonves said it came down to ownership and economics. 

"For a couple of reasons, we didn't like it. For one, the price is so expensive," Moonves explained. "We wouldn't want to take four hours of our schedule that we wouldn't have any piece of selling any back-end."

Fremantle Media and Core, the companies behind "American Idol," also reportedly pitched the show to Fox, but the show's original home network didn't bite. 

"It would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly," Fox's Dana Walden told reporters Monday. "We felt that our fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then have the show brought back right away."