‘American Idol’ returns
On Tuesday, the Fox juggernaut roars back onto the airwaves, still sending the rivals fleeing for cover (ABC moved “Lost” to Thursday nights to avoid a head-to-head battle). And proving that fortune truly favors the bold, after what many described as a shaky sixth season (with the franchise showing measurable ratings vulnerability by its finale), the show finds the field emptied of rivals and is greeted by a starving audience eager for proven entertainment value.
Tending to TV’s most valuable franchise, the “Idol” team is prepping a season that addresses what they openly admit were missteps last season.
Speaking by phone astride Barbados’ Green Monkey golf course, “Idol” co-executive producer Nigel Lythgoe basked in his final moments of peace before Season 7’s onslaught is unleashed. While the rest of “Idol” nation has slept since Jordin Sparks was crowned champion last May, Lythgoe has been occupied managing two other competition franchise seasons — “So You Think You Can Dance” (on which he also serves as a judge) and the debutant outing of “The Next Great American Band.” But looking ahead to “Idol, ” he offered some hints at what lies ahead.
More Idol Headlines After the Jump
It’s Fox’s ‘Idol’ to the rescue
Having come to Fox’s rescue on more than one occasion, “American Idol” this year faces a far tougher mission: keeping the lights on in TV land during one of the medium’s darkest hours.
A one-two punch of lower fall ratings and a crippling writers strike has pretty much put the season in turnaround. Now, just like the return of the latenight talkers, industryites are praying the reappearance of “Idol” will be a shot in the arm for all the nets, not just Fox.
“It’s important to show that network TV is still healthy and able to get through a strike, ” one wag says, noting that reality shows are already proving to be potent strike-contingency programming.
WGA STRIKE UPDATE: As Writers Idle, American Idol May Boom
Juggernaut American Idol returns Tuesday on Fox and is expected to see a ratings boom as the writers strike could give Simon Cowell and company an advantage.
Rival networks seldom even try to compete with Idol airings anyway. That was part of the message from Fox, which now begins its annual dance of trying to lower expectations for television biggest show.
Said Fox programming chief Preston Beckman, “We dont anticipate a surge in viewership, but we assume it will be somewhere around what it seems to do every year for the auditions.”
Paula Abdul and ‘American Idol’ are back on Fox
For Paula Abdul, it starts all over again in late summer.
Viewers must wait until January to see the sometimes painful, sometimes promising auditions that mark the beginning of an “American Idol” season, but the process starts much earlier for Abdul and fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.
Along with host Ryan Seacrest, they hunt anew for singing stars when the popular talent competition launches its seventh round with a two-part season premiere Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox/5.
“I think we have all the makings for the best season we’ve ever had, ” Abdul says, having watched auditions in San Diego, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Omaha and Charleston, S.C. “What’s really interesting is that the last three years, I didn’t remember a lot of the kids. This season, it started off a little shaky, but we began seeing some amazing people and getting hopeful. It really is anyone’s game this time, with equal male and female talent.”
“Idol” dilemma — ratings up, sales down
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – “American Idol” is poised to set ratings records when Fox’s talent show returns to the airwaves with a four-hour season premiere on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In 2006, an average of 30 million Americans watched the Wednesday night results show — and it’s expected that those numbers could increase substantially this year thanks to the dearth of alternative viewing options as a result of the Writers Guild of America strike.
But while more and more people are giggling over the off-key auditions and Simon Cowell’s barely contained rage at Paula Abdul, album sales have not kept pace with the increasing number of viewers. Certain contestants have been standouts — most recently, Chris Daughtry with 3.6 million in sales for his eponymous band’s debut album last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan — but the overall trend is erratic.
Will The South Rise Again on ‘American Idol Season 7’? ‘Yes’ Said 40% of Southern Idol Viewers Surveyed vs. ‘No’ From 38% of Northern Viewers
IRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ — Why have contestants from Southern states dominated on “American Idol” for six seasons? Will the trend continue in season 7, launching Jan. 15?
These are burning questions Idol fans across the U.S. have asked since the show started, and that subject has generated stories in all media, including The New York Times.
From its hub in Birmingham, Ala., Luckie & Co. has been creating cutting-edge campaigns for the country for more than half a century. Most recently, Luckie took up the challenge of finding out why their fellow Southerners were performing so well on “American Idol” by conducting a nationwide survey.
Quick Hits: Slipknot/Disturbed, Kanye West, Papa Roach, Usher, Daughtry, Avril Lavigne
Chris Daughtry and his band already have 17 songs in the can for their sophomore album, which they hope to finish writing in the spring. “Chris just sits at the back of the bus and will come out with something and say, ‹I just wrote this thing, and it amazing, guitarist Josh Steeley told Gibson.com. “The new stuff isnt too far from the album that out now, but it more complex.” Daughtry added that most of his bandmates do their songwriting separately and fit the pieces together later. “Some songs are coming out a little heavier than the last record, and some songs are just way more beautiful, ” Daughtry said.
Q & A: Talking with Chris Daughtry
He didn’t win American Idol, but Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band found huge success as the top-selling artists of 2007. He didn’t win American Idol, but Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band found huge success as the top-selling artists of 2007.
Clay Aiken is sore from rehearsing for ‘Spamalot, ‘ and now he’s sore at us.
Clay Aiken makes his Broadway debut next week in “Spamalot.” Although he didn’t win “American Idol”–he finished second place on the second season of the show–he’s among the show’s most successful contestants (his debut CD, “Measure of a Man, ” sold more than 600, 000 copies in a single week). And his groupies are so loyal, they’ve banded together online and call themselves the Claymates. In person, Aiken is chatty and witty, until you start asking him questions about his personal life, including his fight last year with Kelly Ripa while he was a guest host on “Regis and Kelly.” As a joke, Aiken covered Ripa’s mouth with his hand to quiet her, prompting Ripa to make a joke (“I don’t know where that hand’s been, honey!”) that Rosie O’Donnell called homophobic–a strange thing to say, since Aiken says he’s straight. Aiken spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Ramin Setoodeh.
Clay Aiken Premiers His New Smile On Broadway
When Clay Aiken makes his Broadway debut in Monty Python’s Spamalot he will be wearing a new smile created by Dr. Bobbi Stanley, a nationally acclaimed cosmetic dentist practicing in Cary, a suburb of Clay’s hometown of Raleigh, NC. Clay will join the cast of the award winning play in the role of Sir Robin on January 18 and continue through May 4.
Without ‘American Idol’ and record label, what’s next for Taylor Hicks?
What a difference a verb makes.
Dropped. Split. Left. Went different ways. Asked to be released from a contract.
This week, “American Idol” watchers have been buzzing about Birmingham’s Taylor Hicks, the 2006 winner who’s no longer signed to J/Arista Records.
APTaylor Hicks says he’s nearly finished with production of a concert DVD, “Whomp at the Warfield.” He hasn’t specified a release date, however.
Rumors about changes in the Hoover native’s recording deal have been circulating for months, mostly among the hardcore faithful in his fan club, the Soul Patrol. They care greatly about everything Hicks does or says — from his record sales to his golf score — and they take pride in tracking and revealing even the tiniest facts.
The latest news item was big, however.
Taylor Hicks and His Maybe-Fake Girlfriend
In May 2007, Hicks was spotted frolicking incognito in the Hawaiian surf with a pixie-cut blonde hard-body. Photos of said frolicking soon surfaced on TMZ, which Hicks’ camp flaunted as proof that their man was, in fact, a heterosexual. (He’d never been linked to a female before). The woman was subsequently identified as one Caroline Lyders, an anchor on a local Milwaukee television network.
Shortly after Lyders was named, however, Hicks fans with a seemingly endless supply of free time on their hands started analyzing photos of the woman on the beach and on-air shots of Lyders, eventually coming to the conclusion that they were two different people. Among the reasons trotted out to buttress the claim were that Lyders and the beach bunny had different mouths, ear lobes, ankle birthmarks, and neck sizes.
The great ‘American Idol’ quiz
Ready for the new season of “American Idol, ” which returns for a seventh round this week? Find out by taking our scientifically researched trivia test. Score one point for each right answer.
My American Idol Audition
Ive spent approximately six seasons watching American Idol, and with each new season, as Ive endured the warbling of the Haley Scarnato, Nikki McKibbin, and Jon Stevens of the world, I often wondered aloud how far I would get if I were to audition. So in late August, when Idol auditions rolled into Philadelphia Wachovia Center, I decided to say …what the hell and give it a try. What ensued was a marathon of sitting, sweating, and getting squished by large crowds. In other words, it was a lot less fun than I imagined it would be.