“You’re going to find your singing show Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – and in the spring, it’ll be the same thing,” the exec continued. “That ‘event’ quality ‘Idol’ used to have is clearly out the window.”
So is this fall’s singing-show showdown happening a couple of seasons too late?
NBC took a calculated risk by adding a fall edition of “The Voice,” knowing that the show would probably take a ratings dip — but would also give the network a better platform from which to launch its new season.
It’s paid off. The new “Revolution,” another Abrams drama (this one with former “The Shield” guru Shawn Ryan debuting after the singing show Monday, is one of Premiere Week’s big success stories. One year ago, the network’s time-slot occupant, the new “Playboy Club,” was the season’s first cancellation. On Tuesday night, the fourth episode of NBC’s new Matthew Perry comedy, “Go On” — which debuted early during the network’s Summer Olympics coverage — handily beat the season debut of Fox’s much-ballyhooed “New Girl.”
Armed with “The Voice” on two nights, NBC won Premiere Week among younger viewers for the first time in nine years.
Not coincidentally, the day the Premiere Week stats came out, NBC announced that it had picked up “Revolution” and “Go On” — as well as Tuesday’s “The New Normal,” which follows “Go On” — for the rest of the TV season.
Not so clear is the picture for “The X Factor,” which got a reboot for its second season — after its first season fell short of the 20 million viewers forecast by creator Simon Cowell. A reported $15 million was spent to hire Britney Spears, who replaced Paula Abdul at the judges’ table. And Nicole Scherzinger was replaced by firecracker Demi Lovato. Even so, the show came in 3 million viewers short of last fall’s Premiere Week.
That has to give pause among Fox suits, who’d seen a ratings uptick when they replaced the “Idol” judges Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell with Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez two seasons back and presumably expected a similar uptick for “The X Factor” this fall. Fox recently announced another judge-panel reboot for the next season of “Idol,” after last season’s ratings tumble — a reboot that’s costing a reported $18 million for Mariah Carey alone. Also new to the show: Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, who join returning judge Randy Jackson.
Fox isn’t the only network keeping a close eye on the pluses and minuses of judge shuffling. NBC announced a couple of weeks ago that Shakira and Usher would fill in for regular “Voice” judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green for the show’s spring edition, so Aguilera and Green can concentrate on their recording careers.
It looks as though “X’s” best hope of a ratings recovery is the addition of its co-hosts, Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian, who are expected to join the show in time for the November sweeps ratings derby — when live competition episodes finally get underway.
For previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, visit washingtonpost.