Ryan Seacrest fought back tears at the end of American Idol's series finale Thursday.
"And one more time – this is so tough – we say to you from Hollywood, goodnight America," said the show's longtime host.
Then came his surprising final words: "For now," he said, leaving fans wondering if Idol was actually ending for good. As it turns out, a revival could soon become a reality.
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"There will no doubt be another format or refinement or elevation of the format," creator Simon Fuller recently told Billboard of a new Idol created for "the next generation."
"Now I can actually revamp it and come up with a new version," he explained. "And we can look back on 15 seasons and think of some legitimate ways to allow people to enjoy them again, maybe adding another dimension to it."
An industry insider tells PEOPLE that likely won't happen by next season, adding: "They'll have to take some time and give at least a little space."
Indeed, Fuller sees the finale on Fox as the beginning of a break leading up to the franchise's next chapter, he told the trade publication.
"Now we can catch our breath. It allows me to rethink the show for the first time," he said. "When you're a No. 1 show, it's hard to be too bold and brazen about changing the format because it's working and succeeding. Also, you're always rushing to get the next season completed. Now we start with a clean sheet of paper."
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And Fuller already has a direction in mind.
"There are loads of ideas being shared and I'm deep in thought about how we can evolve Idol," he said. "We debuted at the very beginning of the digital world. So the next generation of Idol will be a lot more interactive, a lot more immersive. For me the most exciting thing is we can really now dive deep with all the new technology that's coming. My head is exploding with opportunities. The next generation of Idol – and Idol will certainly be coming back for sure – will have a youthful glow and it will be pioneering again, just as it was when we first began."
Scott Borchetta – the Idol mentor known for starting Big Machine Records and signing Taylor Swift – on Thursday told reporters at the show he isn't aware of official plans for the program to return.
"We went out on top," Borchetta said. "If you're going to take this plan back out of the closet, you better be damn good. You better have something that we haven't seen before, because otherwise you are going to have failure. You don't want your heroes to retire and come back and suck. So if they come back, they better kick ass."
Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ