prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Idol’s New Season Starts Tonight

Posted by prof e on January 12, 2010

American Idol has been a huge success for the Fox TV network. Year after year at first place in the ratings, AI continues to dominate prime time TV. That kind of success yields substantial revenue. A 30-second spot on Idol nets Fox over $600,000. That and product placement deals with Coke, Ford, AT&T, iTunes and others makes this franchise a gold mine.

Earlier today I asked my Media & Society students why they think American Idol is such a hit with viewers and they offered up several very insightful responses.

  1. Viewers are able to participate in the potential rags-to-riches story line of contestants…seeing themselves as potentially rich and famous if they were just given an opportunity to compete.
  2. We enjoy seeing people make fools of themselves on TV. The Germans have a word for it…schadenfreude, which is translated as pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
  3. The large contestant pool means that our social network may allow us to know someone who knows someone who is a contestant. The old six-degrees-of-separation meme strikes again!
  4. And, the interactivity and audience participation provided by the text voting gives viewers/voters a sense of ownership.

I think the students came up with some very compelling explanations for the success of American Idol. It will be interesting to see if that success continues. In case you haven’t heard, the big news this season is the planned departure of the acerbic Simon Cowell. Cowell reportedly turned down $144 million per year to stay. Time will tell just how much Simon’s biting commentaries will be missed by fans of the show. What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for American Idol?

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3 Responses to “Idol’s New Season Starts Tonight”

  1. jose lozano said

    No, I dont think that this is the end of American Idol. As long as they keep putting contestants with talent, entertaining personalities, or inspirational stories, they will continue to draw adiuences. People want to see and be able to predict who the future stars are gonna be. the fact that they are able to vote for who they think should win is also gonna help keep veiwers.

  2. Lashanaye James said

    I usually watch certain television shows for the rag to riches journey and just to see how they prevailed when they felt all odds were against them. Yet for American Idol after the 4th or 5th season I lost interest in it. I always love watching the auditions because of course you have those who have no talent in singing and they think they do, and you have those who just truly move you with their voices. Therefore I would have to highly agree with your students within these contestants given an opportunity to compete when they thought their lives couldn’t get any better. You asked about Simon’s commentaries and during man times I thought they were unnecessary but other times for those who couldn’t sing at all his comments were just hilarious. But overall I feel like American Idol has overstayed their welcome on television.

  3. Deherrera Stephanie said

    I think that American Idol has had a downfall since this blog was posted. It’s not as interesting as it once was. The judges are not the same and it’s just lost the whole attention of peopel in general. The only good part I prob enjoy is the auditions of the first part of the show because it’s entertaining when the people who don’t know how to sing think they do. Another thing is i think Simon was a big part of american idol and since he is no longer a part of the show i don’t think people are too much into now. The show now i find more interesting is the voice just because of the fact that it can be anyone and the judges can’t actually see the performer and judge them by what they may look like. I think that, that has a big factor to do with other show’s just like american idol i can remember them making remarks about people who didn’t look the “role” to be a singer. Overall i don’t think american idol is much of a hit as it use to be.

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