ABC's 'Fallen Idol' doesn't topple Fox's 'American Idol'

So what have we learned about "American Idol" in the last several days?

That no matter what dirt is revealed, nothing can seemingly derail the highest-rated TV show in the land. On Wednesday night, the big Fox show produced its standard high ratings, a crushing 25.4 million viewers and 10.8 rating in the adult 18 to 49 demo. As expected, ABC's "Primetime Live" hit some high notes of its own; a healthy 13.7 million viewers tuned in with a 6.1 rating in the demo for its special "Fallen Idol" segment about the "American Idol" show.

Speculation was rampant in the press, Newsday, for one, that judge Paula Abdul will get the axe herself because of an alleged affair with one contestant Corey Clark. Abdul purportedly helped Clark in picking out clothes and suggested what songs to sing.

But none of that swayed anyone. Viewers who have the final say on "Idol" matters didn't let Clark get too far in the 2003 season.



"Idol" has had other more serious problems, as the Hollywood Reporter noted - overworked phone lines that slowed voting, incorrect voting phone numbers that forced a do-over earlier this season, as well as superior singers suspiciously eliminated.

Interestingly, the promotion ABC gave the "Idol" franchise didn't hurt - nor help - the Fox show, ratings-wise. Perhaps those watching ABC were merely "Idol" curiosity-seekers, or haters, looking to bring down the No. 1 TV show.

Of course, ABC's spat with Fox has been big drama itself this season. The two have jousted over shows where spouses are swapped as well as another where British nannies come to the United States to straighten up American's most misbehaved children -- and their parents.

As mentioned before in the column, this could be the start of a whole new line of programming/promotion. Perhaps next season, CBS will do an expose on "The Apprentice." Then maybe NBC will offer some scandalous behind-the-scenes segments of "Survivor."

Call it double-crossed TV show promotion. Networks now figure if they can't rip off another network's idea, they can always just rip into shows.

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