Idol Tonight, American Idol Extra offer even more American Idol filler

If the filler on the regularly scheduled American Idol 5 episodes doesn’t waste enough of your time, and your life just isn’t complete with yet another goddamn “look back” clip segment, there’s good news: Two cable channels are debuting Idol-themed shows that will air before and after the regular show. That’s an additional three hours of American Idol programming each week.

Starting tonight, the TV Guide Channel will air an hour-long pre-show before every episode, starting at 7 p.m. ET tonight. A press release calls this a “red carpet event that will take viewers to all the festivities that precede each ‘American Idol’ competition.” If that isn’t scintillating enough, we can also expect “never-before-seen footage … including auditions, outtakes and post-performance confessionals,” and “interviews with former ‘American Idol’ finalists, industry insiders, fashion stylists, vocal coaches, casting agents, online experts and top magazine editors.”

If you still haven’t gotten your fix, the Fox Reality Channel will air “American Idol Extra” on Thursday at both 6:30 and 10:30 p.m. ET. The show includes “an interview with the week’s voted-off finalist” plus “a look back at their journey from home-town tryouts to one of the coveted top 12 spots.” In addition, they’ll kill time with “visits with some of the past season’s finalists to get an update on their lives, comment and reaction on performances from celebrities and contestants let go earlier in the current season, as well as a look at some of the amazing production team that creates the excitement and tension of each ‘American Idol’ episode.”

TV Guide Channel(R) Launches ”Idol Tonight” [TV Guide press release]
Fox Reality to Premiere ‘American Idol Extra’ [Fox Reality press release]

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.