The TV Column by Lisa de Moraes: OMG, It's the Jonas Brothers on 'South Park'!

A JoBros plotline could mean more viewers for "South Park" -- though not the ones the show traditionally courts.
A JoBros plotline could mean more viewers for "South Park" -- though not the ones the show traditionally courts. (Comedy Central)
By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The creators of "South Park" hope the Jonas Brothers will do for the show's 13th season debut what they have done for practically every other show on which they have appeared: goose the ratings.

The Jonas Brothers aren't actually going to appear on the animated Comedy Central series. They will be mocked.

In the episode, Kenny takes his new girlfriend to a Jonas Brothers concert, thinking it's the way to her heart and other body parts, only to have his hopes dashed when the brothers give them purity rings.

No one from the show or the network would talk to us about "South Park's" effort to get The Jonas Touch -- "not our demo," a Comedy Central rep explained. He's of course talking about the fact that Comedy Central works like a little beaver to attract 18-to-49-year-old guys -- not the hordes of screaming young tweener chicks the Jonas Brothers take with them everywhere they appear.

MTV's Video Music Awards, for instance, clocked its biggest overall audience and its biggest teen audience in four years when the Jonas Brothers appeared for the first time last year.

When the Jonas Brothers performed on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" results show in spring 2008, they copped that franchise's biggest teen audience of the season.

The premiere of Disney Channel's "Camp Rock" was last year's No. 1-ranked cable entertainment telecast, with an average audience of more than 10 million viewers. It was the No. 1 entertainment show in all of TV, including cable and broadcast, among tweens.

When the Jonas Brothers guest-starred on "Hannah Montana" in August 2007, the episode became basic cable's top-rated series telecast of all time in Total Viewers (10.7 million), Kids 6-11 (4.2 million) and Tweens 9-14 (4.1 million).

And this year's Grammycast delivered its biggest teen audience in four years -- up 32 percent compared with '08 -- with a first-ever Grammy performance by the Jonas Brothers.

But Comedy Central won't brag about all the extra tweener chicks that tomorrow night's "South Park" debut might attract -- only the late-teen guys who will tune in to see them dissed.

Mocking the Jonas Brothers can sometimes backfire. Take VMA host Russell Brand, for instance. He mocked the JoBros for their purity rings -- worn on their left hands and representing a pledge to remain virgins until marriage -- saying, "I'd take it a little more seriously if they'd wear it on their genitals." The Jonas Brothers wearing purity rings, Brand said, was "like Superman deciding not to fly and go everywhere on a bus." Only when Jordin Sparks appeared on the show as a presenter and noted, "Not everybody -- guy or girl -- wants to be a slut," was Brand made to come back onstage to apologize:

"I've gotta say 'Sorry' because I said those things about promise rings; that was bad of me. I didn't mean to take it lightly.

"I love Jonas Brothers," he continued. "I think it's really good. I don't want to [knicker-knot] teenage fans. . . . Promise rings, I'm well up for it. Well done, everyone. . . . It's just, a bit of sex occasionally never hurt anybody."

* * *

As part of their ongoing effort to revamp and reinvent "American Idol" -- and now that we're down to the 12 finalists -- the show's producers hope to turn the Wednesday program, a.k.a. "Results Show Product Pimp-athon," into something more akin to the old "Top of the Pops" or "American Bandstand." To that end, they have secured Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson to sing the Auto-Tuned "Heartless" and love song "My Life Would Suck Without You," respectively, on tomorrow night's show.

You don't remember "Top of the Pops"? Of course you don't. It was the gimongously popular BBC show that aired weekly from 1964 to 2006 and, back in its early days, would feature such acts as the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, the Hollies and the Beatles.

You can't recall "American Bandstand"? Of course you can't -- it aired from 1957 to 1989, featuring top acts of the day, and was hosted and produced by Dick Clark.

You haven't the vaguest idea who Dick Clark is? Of course you don't -- he hosted ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" and the Golden Globe Awards until he had a stroke in 2004. Since then, "New Year's Rockin' Eve" has been mostly hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

Who, in one of those great mandala of life thinggummies, is the host of "American Idol."

To make room for West and Clarkson, it appears the "Idol" producers have retired last year's innovation, the "American Idol" Phone Sponsor Lets Nobodies Talk on Their Actual Phones segment. Which is a shame, because there was nothing 25 million viewers liked more than to listen to people, whom they will never meet and already don't care about, asking questions of the various Idolettes.

In its debut week, the "American Idol" Phone Sponsor Lets Nobodies Talk on Their Actual Phones segment coughed up callers wondering why they'd auditioned for the show six times without ever making it to the competition; a caller wanting to see judge Simon Cowell and Seacrest duke it out onstage; another who wondered why Cowell spends so much money on cars but not on clothes; another who wondered what Idolette Ramiele last downloaded on her iPod. Riveting stuff.

Meanwhile, on his radio show yesterday, Seacrest invited Babs Wawa and her entourage from "The View" to sit in the audience while Kanye West performs.

Priceless.


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