FOX buying DialIdol, Vote for the Worst, and reality TV blogs to promote American Idol

This satirical story is part of the April 1, 2006 edition of reality blurred.

News Corp., continuing to acquire popular online properties, has purchased American Idol-focused sites DialIdol and Vote for the Worst. The sites will be folded into the company’s MySpace community once the checks clear and/or FOX Security finishes their friendly visits with the web sites’ owners.

The plan, a FOX spokesperson said, is to let MySpace community members edit DialIdol and Vote for the Worst’s web sites with Thomas’ MySpace Editor, thus making the sites illegible and impossible to visit. “We’re positive that, once the text is fluorescent green on a background that’s an animated gif, and a Scott Savol song blares at top volume the second the page loads, no one will want to visit any more. They’ll be too busy having seizures. The threat will be neutralized–I mean, the fans will have control,” the spokesperson said.

The network is also acquiring seven unnamed reality TV-focused blogs, particularly those that post incoherent, poorly written recaps of FOX shows. Specifically, those that have journalism-sounding words in their URLs and regularly post press releases verbatim are being targeted. A FOX VP told reporters, “It’s so great to know that these blogs truly understand journalism and critical analysis. These are smart people, copying and pasting our press releases and posting them in order to sell Google ads, sneak into Google News, and inflate their BlogAds pageviews.”

“It makes perfect sense since they’re already basically an extension of our marketing departments. Now, we’ll be able to get our propaganda–I mean, ‘assets’–in front of more eyeballs. I love new media,” he said. The exec also said that there’s another positive effect. “With all the time and resources we spend trying to keep Paula Abdul away from the male contestants, we just don’t have time to read blogs any more to find out which contestants we need to build up or tear down.”

Other networks are planning similar acquisitions, afraid their shows will suffer in the ratings without the attention of blogs. Networks have also convented task forces and ad hoc committees to study other new trends like “podcasting,” “clicking on links,” and “watching shows that don’t suck.”

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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.