American Idol “is ratings crack for Fox”; “gamble pays off” for BMG.

American Idol “is ratings crack for Fox”; “gamble pays off” for BMG.
With its continued success, American Idol is “ratings crack for Fox,” a network executive “with ties to” the show tells the New York Times. The paper asks if “the show’s reliance on a brand of pop music some find stale could turn off younger music fans,” and asks if “Fox [is] following the same ill-fated path of oversaturation that ABC took three years ago” with game shows. While the show was on last August and September for “a total of 22.5 hours, this latest one totaled almost 39 hours,” and the paper reports that sources say when it returns, the show will be on for 40 hours, although FOX execs deny that. Another winner besides FOX is BMG, whose RCA division gets to sign whichever contestants it wants to. Reuters reports the show “has been a hit-generating machine and has undoubtedly slashed [RCA chair Clive] Davis’ A&R costs at a time when the industry is struggling through a steep downturn.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.