Is 'American Idol' ready to make changes?
If you just look at the numbers, FOX's American Idol remains TV's most watched show by a wide margin, but if you read the media reports, the show is sinking like the Titanic. So it's no wonder that FOX is contemplating making a few changes to the popular format.
Yes, there are a couple mighty logical explanations for the unquestionable ratings plunge Idol has seen in recent weeks.
1)Just about every show on TV is down this spring, either because of post-strike viewer lag or... well... something more nefarious (I say the Langoliers, but you can pick your mysterious-force-of-choice). American Idol is down, but so are CSI and Grey's Anatomy.
2)For the second consecutive year, the Top Five is low on singers Barney Stinson might simply categorize as "awesome." I'm not going to insult the individual contestants -- I do enough of that in my weekly recaps -- but this season was promoted as the best ever, but this isn't our finest Top Five ever. Where's the pizzazz?
3)Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. Reality shows in their seventh incarnation experience viewer fatigue. That's not surprising.
There's nothing FOX can do about overall television viewership. There's little FOX can do about the Top 24 selected by the judges each season or the voting of the American People. But there's plenty that the network and producers can do to reverse fatigue, or at least to try to reinvent the American Idol wheel.
An online market research survey obtained by Broadcasting & Cable gives some indication of the way future decisions may be made.
Most of the questions are pretty straight-forward. Next to pictures of the three judges, Ryan Seacrest and the contestants (as a collective), people are asked to state how important each individual is to the overall enjoyment of the show. Opinions are solicited regarding specific details like the banter between Ryan and the judges, the gender balance of the season's talent and Simon Cowell's negative comments among other issues.
Things get really specific toward the end, though, with queries about the pre-Top 24 portion of the show and how it unfolds. Are there too many audition episodes? Not enough audition episodes? Too many time spent on the Hollywood Week? Not enough?
One question asks, "Suppose the first few weeks of American Idol started in Hollywood with flashbacks of the auditions, would that increase or decrease your enjoyment of American Idol?"
As Martin Landau's Entourage character might ask, is that something you might be interested in?
All of that is just a long and convoluted way for me to set up today's prompt question...
What would you like to see American Idol change for its eighth season? The judges? The theme nights? The host? The structure and format?