Tuesday, your “journey” has come to an end — at least with regard to American Idol.
Yes indeed, in a move that may have rival networks reexamining their own 2011 programming rosters, Fox revealed yesterday that Idol is shifting to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule, abandoning the Tuesday-Wednesday timetable around which the Idoloonie nation has built its entire life its TV viewing calendar for the last nine seasons. The late Friday announcement capped a week of carefully leaked tidbits about the remodeling that the long-running ratings juggernaut will undergo when it returns to the airwaves in January; that’s when new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will join “barnacle” Randy Jackson on a ship that, for the first time, won’t have Simon Cowell hurling insults from the lido deck. And while it’s pure speculation to say whether these tweaks big and small will translate into smooth sailing or sinking fortunes for Idol‘s tenth season, when has that ever stopped me in the past? Let’s take a critical look at each one of the recently revealed changes for season 10:
The move to Thursdays: “[Thursday] is a tough nut to crack, and if you want to crack it, you have to make a big move there,” Mike Darnell, Fox’s reality chief, told Deadline Hollywood. And indeed, with Glee becoming a ratings force on Tuesdays this fall (sans Idol lead-in), it makes sense for the network to try to position its ratings powerhouses over three nights, rather than just two. Bottom line, though, is that a timeslot switch shouldn’t mean much to Idol addicts. Think of it this way: Would Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” have sounded any less glorious on a Wednesday? Would Chris Daughtry’s ouster have been any less devastating on a Thursday? At the end of the day, we Idoloonies can bring the crazy any night of the week, any week of the year. So go ahead Fox, and do your thing.
The return of the one-hour results shows?: A wise philosopher once said, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Which is pretty much the stance I copped back in May, when Fox announced that it planned to cut Idol‘s results-show telecasts from 60 minutes to a half-hour (a promise it made and broke back a couple years ago as well). Yesterday’s Fox press release took a virtual Swiffer to that dusty idea of a truncated results telecast by announcing that starting Jan. 20, Idol would air from 8 to 9 p.m. every Thursday. Still, while we can all grumble at the network for another season of filler-laden elimination nights starring Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, and Ryan Seacrest’s redundant questions for contestants, who can really blame Fox for choosing a scenario in which it’ll get 18-20 million viewers rather than, say, 5 million, in its 8:30-9 slot? At the end of the day, this is why God created the DVR fast-forward function.
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