Cingular made a max of $4.15 million from text messages from American Idol 4

Cingular’s exclusive text message vote contract earned as much as $4.15 million for the company last year, the Boston Globe reports.

Basically, the paper did the math, finding that “Cingular charges between $19.99 per month for a text package with 2,500 messages included and 10 cents per message on a pay-as-you-go plan, meaning the company raked in as much as $4.15 million in text messaging fees from ‘American Idol’ votes alone last year.” In other words, if they all the messaging viewers had plans, they made a lot less from the show.

Speaking of text messages, late last month The Boston Herald followed-up on my report about text message votes not counting from non-Cingular founds, and found that other companies probably won’t charge for votes sent. A spokesperson told the Herald, “It just won’t work if you’re another subscriber.” Of course, that also means the vote won’t count.

And the big winner looks to be … Cingular [Boston Globe]
Confused callers worship false Idol [Boston Herald]

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.