earning nearly $1 billion, American Idol is “a diversified money machine.”

earning nearly $1 billion, American Idol is “a diversified money machine.”
American Idol “is the undisputed champion of television,” USA TODAY reports, but the show is also a huge money-making machine. Creator Simon Fuller doesn’t deny this: “I’m on the cutting edge of entertainment and how you exploit it.” A chart shows the nearly $1 billion in revenue generated by the series and where it goes; the paper estimates that the series “generated more than $900 million last year in sales of TV ads, albums, merchandise and concert tickets.” USA TODAY gets specific with numbers; for example, the paper reports that “Fox should see at least $444 million this season from national ads. It sells about 10 minutes an hour at an average price of about $600,000 per 30-second spot, says Jon Nesvig, president of sales for Fox.” Additionally, it reports that Simon Cowell is the highest-paid judge. Simon “makes about $8 million a season, far more than fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson see, according to an executive familiar with the contracts.”

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.