A barrage of news came out of the morning conference call with FOX executives on Monday, ahead of the advertiser upfronts, regarding American Idol and Glee. Most of it was not good. The once mighty shows have seen falling ratings over the past few seasons. As a result, Idol will definitely cut back it’s hours, while FOX Chief, Kevin Reilly hinted that Glee, which is set to premiere in 2015 for its 6th and final season, will likely have its 22 episode order reduced.
What the sagging fortunes of both shows meant for the hour long upfront presentation which took place in the afternoon at New York’s Beacon Theater, was that for the first time in the run of both shows, they were barely mentioned to the advertisers in attendance.
The Hollywood Reporter reported, post mortem:
Fox’s former keystone barely got a breath from Reilly. Though he positioned his network at the top of the unscripted race — Fox has seven of the top 20 reality shows across all of TV — American Idol only had one brief mention during the entire hourlong presentation. After saying that the show would be trimmed and tweaked for its upcoming 14th season during a call with reporters earlier Monday, the only Idol news buyers got out of the entertainment chief is that he’s partnering it with the musical Empire come midseason. It still has a place at the table, but it’s not getting much attention today at all.
THR’s live blog noted:
Could Fox be as tired of the one-time juggernaut as much of America seems to be? Also glaringly absent: musical Glee, which for the first time is benched for midseason after a string of series lows this year.
Nearly the entire Glee cast attended the FOX Upfronts in 2013, while this year, only Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet and Jane Lynch attended. And they were only there to appear at the fan meet and greet, Fan Front.
Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez, attended the upfronts, but only as the Chief Creative Officer of Nuevo TV, the Spanish language network she part-owns. She did talk a little bit about Idol with reporters:
…Jennifer Lopez said she has picked up a key programming lesson from her judge’s post on American Idol. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — it’s all the common-sense things. American Idol is such an institution, and it is such a great show, at the end of the day, it’s about the contestants and the focus should never be on anything else,” Lopez told The Hollywood Reporter just before the network’s upfronts presentation at New York City’s Edison Ballroom on Monday evening. “You want to have a great panel and interesting judges, but it’s about the kids. It’s about focusing on the right things, and I think in television that’s the most important thing: really understanding your audience and giving them what they want … it hasn’t changed all that much. It is the show it has always been.”
It’s all about the kids…unless Ms Lopez is ready for her close up. Which is ALL THE TIME. Heh.
As a contrast, the Los Angeles Times notes that while Idol was absent from the FOX presentation. NBC, which presented their upfront earlier in the day:
At its upfront Monday morning, the peacock network heavily promoted the show, which will be back in the fall for another cycle with two new judges, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, in the swiveling red chairs.
Of course, there’s a danger NBC is guilty of overkill when it comes to “The Voice,” which, as Seth Meyers joked at the presentation, is in “the fifth season that NBC has aired this year and it’s only May.” Fellow funnyman Jimmy Fallon also joined in the self-mockery, saying, “We’ve got ‘The Voice’ and ‘The Blacklist,’ and we’ve got reruns of ‘The Voice.'”
The comedians are making jokes about The Voice oversaturating NBC’s schedule…