FOX CEO Talks Idol at Citi Conference: Idol Audition Numbers Set Records (They Didn’t)

Tony Vinciquerra, the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Networks group, spoke at Citi’s 19th Annual Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Arizona Wednesday.

He’s hopeful the new season of American Idol will be better received than last year due to the “tweaks” introduced by producers.

For example, the “Idols” results show was “very boring … to be blunt about it” last year, so its composition has been changed, he said Wednesday at Citi’s 19th Annual Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Arizona in a session that was webcast.

The results shows were boring.   I liked having prior Idol contestants come back to perform, but those lame phone-in questions?   And the trips out to the LA’s Farmers market to talk to “real people”?   Ugh.

One way to cut down on the boredom would be to cut the results show to 30 minutes.   And in fact, Fox announced at the spring upfronts in May they planned to do just that for Season 8.   But take a look at the current schedule.   The results shows scheduled so far (through the Top 12) are all 60 minutes.

I knew the plan to cut the results show to 30 minutes would go by the wayside. When push came to shove, I figured TPTB would go for the ad dollars.   And at this point, with Fox ratings pretty much in the crapper, they will be depending heavily on Idol ad revenue to boost the bottom line.

He added that new coaches who can draw the younger “Idol” target audience and a new judge are also part of the revamps for the show, whose season premiere is scheduled for next week.

Last year’s ratings drop was particularly painful because they lost much of it in the younger demos.   Bringing in hipper coaches is a good idea.   They need to allow the kids to sing current music as well.

Importantly, “I am told the talent is terrific, ” compared to what he argued was a pool of contenders with less exciting personalities last year, said Vinciquerra, even though he hasn’t seen any footage of this year’s talent yet.

Eh. Whatever. I don’t think last year’s ratings drop had anything to do with the Season 7 cast.   There were a lot of factors that came together, including fewer folks watching less TV across the board and the inevitable ratings hit a show that’s been on TV for 7 years is going to take.

A record number of people lined up for the tryouts for the new season, he told the Citi conference.

Now this? Is patently FALSE.

Take a look at a comparison of audition numbers from Season 7 and Season 8. (The numbers are rough estimates):

*Season 8 Auditions

  • San Francisco – July 17 – 7, 000
  • Louisville – July 21 – 10, 000
  • Phoenix – July 25 – 5, 500
  • Salt Lake City – July 29 – 6000
  • San Juan – Aug 2 – 300
  • Kansas City – Aug 8 – 10, 000
  • Jacksonville – Aug 13 – 11, 000
  • E. Rutherford – Aug 19 – 15, 000

Season 7 Auditions

  • San Diego – July 30 – 12, 000
  • Dallas – Aug 6 – 13, 000
  • Omaha – Aug 10 – 15, 000
  • Atlanta – Aug 14 – 12, 000
  • Charleston – Aug 18 – 10, 000
  • Miami – Aug 22 – 9, 000
  • Philadelphia – Aug 27 – 20, 000

That’s roughly 91K for Season 7 vs   65K for Season 8.   Now the 300 who showed up to audition in Puerto Rico?   That’s some sort of record, but not what Mr. Vinciquerra had in mind…

About mj santilli 35052 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!