NBC's The Voice has been a consistent success through its 12 seasons on the air, and if you've been wondering what the key to the show's popularity is, there's one TV executive who thinks he knows the answer. Mike Darnell, who's the president of unscripted and alternative television for Warner Bros. TV, thinks The Voice has excelled in a couple of aspects that have helped keep the singing competition going strong since its debut in 2011. Here's what he had to say:
NBC and all the producers refreshing the rules in the first few years it was on the air really was smart: they changed up some of the rounds, they changed up the battle rounds. Really smart move. In addition, because The Voice is so judge-centered, the judges are really what drive the show: their banter, their competitiveness. All of that stuff that's very different from Idol and what's come before it --- the keeping of [Adam Levine and Blake Shelton] as your core, but then changing up everything constantly has made it feel refreshed every spring and fall. They took a risk by airing it twice a year, which we didn't do with Idol at Fox, and it's still working. It's been really well-run.
Mike Darnell talked to Variety and revealed that he thinks one of the keys to the success that The Voice has seen over the years has been the fact that the show changes some of the basic rules of the show on a fairly regular basis. This way, every aspect of the show isn't exactly the same every year and even loyal fans of The Voice will be caught off guard by the way the show works every now and then. It makes sense that this would help keep things fresh; even if you watch the show every season it's on, it will never become the kind of competition that you have on in the background without really paying attention to it. The changes in format make sure that viewers stay engaged in the content.
Of course, Mike Darnell also touched on something about The Voice that has really made the show different when it comes to singing competitions: the judges. Since each of the four judges form teams of singers that they try to shepherd toward winning the competition, they do get very competitive amongst themselves and the banter between them that Darnell refers to is frequently almost as entertaining as the singing on the show. And, as anyone who watches The Voice knows, the rivalry between long-time judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton is always a joy to watch. The show wisely knew what it had with those two, and has done whatever was needed to keep them on as judges even as several others have come and gone (and come and gone again) on the series.
Well, it's clear that Mike Darnell is right: the people behind The Voice know how to keep a singing competition fresh. You can keep up with the show when it airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC at 8/7 CST. Be sure to check out our midseason premiere guide and summer premiere guide to see what else you can watch in the coming weeks.