In Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand writes about a pile of manure at a racetrack that a flood turned into “a mighty shit Godzilla” that left buildings and structures destroyed in its wake. That is essentially how the other television networks see FOX’s American Idol, which is about to leave skid marks all over their schedules for the next five months.
One nameless network executive tells Variety, “Early on, I think it was easy to dismiss it as something that would fade. But as the body bags piled up, it became less and less easy to ignore.” NBC’s Mitch Metcalf goes on the record and compares the show to a “hurricane that blows in. We know it’s gonna come and when it’s going to hit. We just have to buckle down and prepare for it the best we can.”
Preparation is a good idea, because Idol “has vaporized nearly two dozen [shows] that have tried to compete against it,” according to Variety. The concern is about more than just shows airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Other networks “worry that Fox will add extra episodes of the show if it needs the added ratings juice, or fret over the always looming (but still unlikely) threat that the net might choose to move the ‘Idol’ results show to Thursday nights,” Variety reports.
The hope, of course, is that this year, finally, the show will slip, and start its march toward eventual obscurity. “At some point, it’s got to go down, right? I mean, all shows go down eventually, don’t they?” one executive said. Another network executive says that, “One of these years, it’s going to be down 5% or 8%, and everyone will say, ‘Hmmm, it’s slipping.’ But when that happens is anyone’s guess.”