'American Idol' Still Top Song Among TV Marketers -- If Not At Higher Dollar Note

Don't sing that old song about television viewer fragmentation; one of TV's biggest stars will have none of it.

"American Idol"'s Simon Cowell doesn't buy the fact that all TV shows have to decline. Just look at the Super Bowl, he says.

Both "Idol" and the Super Bowl are competition shows -- very much reality television. For the last two years, the Super Bowl has indeed bucked the trend, with record-setting overall viewer performances. All this has Cowell thinking -- why not "Idol"?

For many years TV analysts were expecting "Idol," the biggest network TV series, to cave -- especially back in years four and five. But "Idol" did the unexpected, continuing to grow in ratings right through its sixth season.

Finally, in its seventh season, "Idol" fell back -- which still proves a point to TV watchers that the older a show gets, the stronger the likelihood it will lose ratings. In the case of "Idol," it lost what analysts were long expecting it to lose -- younger viewers.



Cowell might be looking to recreate in the U.S. what happened in the U.K., where "X-Factor," another performance competition series he produced, usurped "Pop Idol" as top dog. Cowell's contract with Fox ends next year.

Will Cowell make good on his promise to leave ? Hollywood is littered with high-flying on-and-off-the-air talent making big  threats -- which make for great headlines.

Though TV shows don't usually take surprise positive ratings turns, Cowell shouldn't focus on this.

The real measure isn't necessarily popularity; it's how much a show pulls in total license fee and advertising revenue. "Idol" continues to score record-breaking advertising/sponsorship revenue numbers well into this, its eighth season.

In critiquing some music performances, Cowell typically gives an all-or-nothing evaluation. But i I don't think Cowell will do this if "Idol" declines from its top perch among all TV shows.

It's unlikely he'll say about  a second place show rating performance: "To be honest with you, that was an utter and complete mess. Sorry!"

With still hundreds of millions of advertising dollars still coming in, there is nothing to be sorry about.

2 comments about "'American Idol' Still Top Song Among TV Marketers -- If Not At Higher Dollar Note ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 23, 2009 at 10:44 a.m.

    My wife TiVos these shows (Idol and the higher-rated Dancing with the Stars) and I've noticed that she fast-forwards through the judges, more often than not, but views the entire performances. So I think the appeal of watching contestants is still there, but the longer a show is on the air, the more likely the audience develops a distaste for the judges, who often become characatures. And of course, familiarity breeds comtempt.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 23, 2009 at 4:36 p.m.

    The strong personalities contribute to the contestants' performances which in turn drives the audience. And everything runs its course, but while the iron is hot.......

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