Thursday, January 26, 2006

People Are Falling For 'American Idol' Hype Again

Millions of Americans continue to fall for the hype that this being directed at them from the producers of "American Idol" and this successful PR machine has once again turned this show into the highest rated program on television. I do like the show, but the way we are tricked by some of their tactics is pretty silly, really.

Every year there is some new controversy about contestants either in trouble with the law or getting involved with one of the judges and now this year we've got contestants on the first show that have allegedly committed crimes. Plus, "Simon" has managed to anger folks in the gay and obese communities, too.

I don't think these kind of things are happening by accident. I think the producers of the show know exactly what they are doing and that is the old Hollywood thinking that, "the only bad publicity is no publicity" and they have been running this game plan, successfully, for several years.

While most people that try to manipulate bad publicity into their programming, fail. American Idol producers are masters at this and this year they are continuing their hype and it's working like a charm. What makes this easier for the producers of "Idol" is that there are so many unknown people involved in the show and if you just took a cross section of the American people and put them into a contest, you're going to automatically find folks that are either gay, over weight or have legal problems in their past or future.

Add, "Simon" to the mix and you have their formula for success. It's no wonder that Simon is paid more than Paula and Randy combined because he is the reason this show attracts 35 million viewers each week instead of 15 million. His rude and condescending comments are the reason why the show is a television blockbuster and most of the media hype that has been generated this year and in the past come from the mouth of Simon. I wonder if he gets a bonus from the producers if he is able to make, at least, one group of folks mad per show?

While all the television networks continue to criticize "American Idol" and these shady tactics, the folks at Fox have figured out what the other networks haven't yet and that's how to use negative media hype to promote a TV show into blockbuster ratings. Don't think for a minute that the other three broadcast networks are above using this same technique to promote their programming. They would do it in a minute if they could figure out exactly how it's done on "Idol".

Until that time, the other TV networks will just complain and talk about how bad American Idol is and this will help the show continue to grow. I think getting your competitors to criticize your programming is one of the best ways to promote it. Every time ABC, NBC or CBS put down Fox about American Idol, the ratings seem to go up and with each rating point worth millions of dollars to the show and network, I'm sure the folks at Fox hope their competitors continue to open their mouths in criticism, often.

Smart people will try to watch what's going on with this show and try and copy it for their own success. People have tried this over the past few years, but no one has been successful yet. However, it's just a matter of time before someone figures out this successful formula and turns it into a winner for their network, as well. Until then, I'll just sit back and watch the folks at American Idol and Fox television continue to manipulate us, all the way to the bank.

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