American Idol, X Factor made more money than any other shows last year

Despite lower-than-expected ratings, Fox’s music competition series were the top two money-making series on television last year.

In 2011, American Idol made $6.64 million per half hour, while X Factor made $5.55 million per half hour, according to a Forbes report that used estimates from Kantar Media. The only other reality show in the top 10 was Dancing with the Stars, which came in at number six and earned $2.72 million per half-hour.

Kantar’s head of research, Jon Swallen, said that advertisers “overpaid” for Simon Cowell’s show, which was expected to do better in the ratings than it did; advertisers buy most ads in advance.

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.