Networks: Idol is a “schoolyard bully,” “the most impactful show in the history of television”

With American Idol continuing to grow–it has been “improbably … averaging 33.5 million viewers over its first five weeks,” according to the New York Times–other networks are forced to contend with it again.

CBS’ scheduler Kelly Kahl said the show “is a big monolith sitting out there. It’s the ultimate schoolyard bully.” And NBC Universal’s Jeff Zucker said, “I think ‘Idol’ is the most impactful show in the history of television.”

One anonymous network executive told the paper, “we have ‘Idol’ strategy sessions. We realize we’ve got to be very, very practical” as they schedule against the show. The Times notes that “any show introduced on those nights [Tuesdays and Wednesdays] in September is living on borrowed time — and ratings” with Idol showing up in January.

Last year by this point, the show was averaging 31.7 million viewers, and American Idol 4 was averaging 28.3 million viewers, according to the Times. Incidentally, although the series has grown from last year, looking at the ratings from episode-to-episode shows an interesting trend. MJ’s American Idol site compiled the ratings from the audition episodes, and from Jan. 16 to Feb. 7, they fell about 10 million viewers. Of course, that doesn’t take into account competition, growth from year-to-year, or anything else, but it’s a clear illustration of how the show starts strong and then drops off–not that it won’t rebound, and not that anything else reaches its level.

For Fox’s Rivals, ‘American Idol’ Remains a ‘Schoolyard Bully’ [New York Times]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.