'American Idol' is set to be rebooted at ABC.

The popstar search show - which aired on Fox in the US for 15 seasons before ending last year - was originally touted to return to screens on NBC but production company Freemantle Media is close to signing a deal with ABC, Variety reports.

Simon Cowell will not be able to return to the show if the deal goes ahead, as he has an exclusivity deal with NBC, which makes his 'America's Got Talent' series.

However, original winner Kelly Clarkson has been tipped to head up the judging panel in his place.

Meanwhile, it was recently claimed that host Ryan Seacrest is open to hosting 'American Idol' if it returns to TV screens.

A source told Entertainment Tonight: ''Ryan has a lot of affection for 'American Idol', given the significance to his career and all the connectivity it has to the things he loves - live, pop music, talent discovery, etc. There have been no formal discussions with Ryan about his involvement but I'm sure he would be open to it, in the right capacity in the scenario that fits the other pieces above.''

However, Ryan recently started hosting 'Live!' with Kelly Ripa and balancing that and 'Idol' with his radio show and commitments to E! could be a challenge.

An insider explained: ''It's entirely possible to do 'American Idol' in New York City [where Ryan lives during the week]. It could be more costly, but worth it. Everyone knows that Ryan is the glue that keeps the show together.

''But there are concerns that Ryan could be spread too thin. That's something 'Live!' producers are keeping an eye on, but everyone is supportive of Ryan. They knew going into this with him as the choice that he always has multiple things going on.''