Idol has earned $2 billion worldwide; FOX earned $200 million in two seasons.

Idol has earned $2 billion worldwide; FOX earned $200 million in two seasons.
The Idol franchise has earned “more than $2 billion worldwide,” the LA Times reports. But the show almost didn’t happen in the US; despite it’s popularity in the UK, US networks ignored it. Hysterically, “ABC executives refused to even meet with” show representatives, which easily solidifies ABC as the network with the stupidest executives (not that we needed more evidence). The show only came to FOX after News Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, who lives in Britain, told him about the show, and he gave FOX the budget to buy the rights. For American Idol 3, “Fox ordered more than 40 episodes”; originally, before buying the rights and getting money from Murdoch, FOX proposed to do only six. The story also reveals the price of ads (“as much as $500,000″ 30 seconds) and the amount that sponsors pay to be featured on the show ($20 million for Coke, Ford, and AT&T Wireless; $10 million for the others). FOX made $200 million in profit from the first two seasons, plus $45 million from merchandise, which includes 7 million copies of Idol-related records.

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.