Simon Cowell promises “big shake-up” next season, age may be lowered to 14

With less than a week since American Idol 7‘s conclusion, it’s time to start talking about American Idol 8.

Following a rather lackluster season, Simon Cowell promises changes for next season, but in a vague way that suggests he really has no idea what’s happening. “There’s going to be a big shake-up. You’ll see,” he told the UK’s Times. Also in the story, show creator Simon Fuller defends his ATM–I mean, franchise. “We’re still a goliath. We’re still bigger than anything else, and now David Cook is going to sell millions of records for us,” he said.

Across the Atlantic, The New York Times runs several reality TV-related stories that illustrate its increasing lack of credibility when covering television, not that having Alessandra Stanley on staff doesn’t do that automatically. (One of those pieces, on The Real World‘s possible home in Brooklyn, basically fills space because it has no new information, and thus includes pointless quotations like this one: “My wife’s into it. She has nothing else to do in her life than sit home and watch TV. Her husband’s working,” barber Jack Paz said.)

Anyway, Edward Wyatt’s report on the finale running over time fails to mention that Fox did the same thing last year, even though Fox basically recycled its fake, insulting apology: “We are sorry that a very small number of viewers using DVRs may have missed the conclusion of American Idol. While it was our intention to end at 10 p.m., the finale is a live event, and as with all live events, overruns occur.” Isn’t the media supposed to put bullshit spin like that into context? Oh, I forgot, that job’s now solely The Daily Show’s responsibility.

Wyatt redeems himself somewhat with a “news analysis” piece that does give the show a big wet kiss (“‘American Idol’ demonstrated on Wednesday that it still has the capacity to surprise”), but also includes some actual information, including that the show may lower its age to 14 from 16. Yes, that’s what we need: More David Archuletas and their stage parents.

The story also reveals that, last Wednesday, “Fox publicity agents cut short post-performance interviews with Mr. Cook and Mr. Archuleta so that other so-called reporters, most of them working for celebrity tabloids and fan Web sites, could take pictures with the two finalists and get their autographs.” Yes, journalism is clearly alive and well in America today.

British TV mogul Simon Fuller is the real winner of American Idol [The Times]
MTV’s Unscripted Show May Get a Dose of Gritty Brooklyn Reality, DVRs Lop Off End of (Gasp!) ‘American Idol’, and ‘Idol’ Tries to Keep Viewers Guessing [New York Times]