Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp. (which owns FOX), conducted a Q&A session with investment fund managers at the 16th annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. He was there to discuss the Fox Business Channel, launching in October and the recent News Corp acquisition of Dow Jones (and the Wall Street Journal, which Dow Jones owns).
But of course, even stuffy investors watch American Idol! Murdoch tells them:
On the broadcast side, Murdoch admitted that the contestants on the latest version of Fox’s “American Idol” didn’t have as much charisma as those in past seasons have had. He was confident, though, that the next version would be much better.
“It’s got years and years of life, ” he said.
Nah, this year’s ratings dip had nothing to do with the crappy non-grammy-winning production that put more emphasis on promoting “guest mentors” and corporate tie-ins rather than on the Idols themselves. Rupert, even Nigel Lythgoe and Ryan Seacrest admit that “mistakes were made” last year. Maybe you should too…
And this delightful article from Blender magazine is all about this year’s Idol camp in Massachusetts. It’s well-written and razor sharp. Here’s an excerpt:
No matter which side of the Idol debate youre on ‘ landscape-shifting beacon of populism vs. festering cancer on the soul of civilization ‘ there no denying the show track record. America Next Top Model has yet to launch an A-list catwalk career, and no Fortune 500 company has an Apprentice grad as its CEO. But American Idol mints genuine stars. For a generation of would-be chart-toppers, it become the quickest, surest route to pop success, open to every Tom, Dick and Sanjaya with a microphone and a dream.
To its detractors, Idol sins are legion: It cruel, it amateurish, it cheesier than Easy Mac. It a …monster-size celebration of mediocrity, one critic sniffed, that preys on the fantasies of the naive.
But give Idol this: It has created some pretty savvy music fans. Prying open the factory gates and lifting the curtain on the star-making machine, the show offers glimpses of pop stars at their most tedious ‘ rehearsing the same song for hours, making mistake after mistake, getting tired and sick and still having to shoot Ford commercials. Thanks to reality TV, today teens might be hungrier for fame than any generation in history ‘ but theyre also the best equipped for it.
…Weve always been keen to make Idol a year-round property, Hindle says. …The show is only on from January to May. The camp is a way to keep it in people minds, make it part of the cultural consciousness.