Are Fox executives starting to hit the panic button when it comes to American Idol? While the blockbuster show is still huge in the ratings department, it is starting to show signs of slippage. According to trade reports, last week’s episode, which showed tattooed-tocker Carly Smithson getting kicked off (which I thought was a total miscarriage of justice), was the lowest-rated edition of the show in five years. In an effort to see if a shake up is necessary in Cowell-land, Fox bosses have put out a survey asking fans about possible change they’d like to see next season.
According to the New York Post, the topics covered by the survey include everything from the format of the show, to the personalities on it. “Suppose the first few weeks of 'American Idol' started in Hollywood with flashbacks of the auditions," one survey question asks. "Would that increase or decrease your enjoyment of 'American Idol'?" Another asks if viewers would like to see more or less of Ryan Seacrest, as well as if there is too much banter between the judges, or (and this would be impossible) too little. While there are no guarantees any of these changes will be made, Fox boss Preston Beckman said, "The feedback from this year, you'll probably see on the show next year.”
One interesting idea that has come up on the viewer survey is that the show would start during Hollywood week and the auditions would then be shown in flashback. So basically, you would see the first auditions of the contestants after you already know they made it to Hollywood. I think this is a terrible idea, since some of the fun of the first episodes is to guess who the judges like and who they don’t. But I’m guessing there’s another reason for this change for format.
You see, Idol starts in January usually, so when Sweep time comes in, the show is usually about 4 episodes in. With this new format, they can get all the good auditions out of the way in the first three episodes, then during Sweeps, they can have a bunch of those “Best Of The Worst,” which is when Idol gets its most casual fans to tune in to the “train wreck” shows. So instead of a “good/bad” split, we would have full hour (or maybe even two) of just disasters. I think this is a horrible way to do the show, and the old format should just stay put.
So will Fox pull the trigger on poking holes in their biggest show? We’ll just have to wait until next year to find out.
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