March 09, 2009 09:31 AM by Paulene Hinds
American Idolcreator, Simon Fuller knew he had something with the hit British show Pop Idol, but when he and Simon Cowell tried to sell the idea to American television stations the network responses were not what they expected. The show we call American Idol almost never made it to air!
“I was thrown out in one pitch meeting. After 30 seconds, the guy told me to get out,” Simon Cowell recalled to MSNBC,as he supported entertainment big wig Simon Fuller while making their rounds to networks. “The main thing we were being told was music doesn’t work on TV in prime-time. We tried to explain that there’s lot more than music on the show.”
Thankfully Simon Fuller continued on with his quest as American Idol‘s success has placed it in the pop culture realm. The talent contest has “created this whole zeitgeist, and it’s really about Americans and participating in creating a celebrity of their own,” said media analyst Shari Ann Brill of Carat USA.
Theshow has gone on to create stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson and the singers have been rewarded with instant careers in music, movies and in theater.
Even Disney World has jumped on the American Idol bandwagon with their new American Idol Experienceattraction and a video game replicating the hit show, “Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol” has also been produced. The buck doesn’t stop there! A deal with iTunes for exclusive show video and song downloads last season coincided with Apple’s emergence as the nation’s leading music retailer.
American Idol is also knownfor their charitable side. Idol Gives Backhas raised $64 million in 2008 for groups including Children’s Health Fund and Malaria No More.
Simon Fuller who created the phenomenon that isAmerican Idol, told The Times of London that “pure, simple television is not that interesting for me; what’s far more interesting is trying to create a cult effect.”
A cult effect indeed!
American Idolhas beenthe most-watched series since its third year, and continues to be this season. The two-hour American Idol episodes on Tuesdays have averaged 58 percent more viewers than the closest competition, CBS’ “NCIS” and “The Mentalist” (27 million for “Idol” vs. 17 million each for the CBS shows).
Fox’s president of alternative entertainment says, “I don’t believe there will ever be another show like this. It’s the last of its breed.”
Thanks tothe persistence ofRupert Murdoch,whose News Corporation owns the network, Fox finally gave American Idol its big break in the summer of 2002 and have takentheir chance on the show right to the bank!
American Idolhas become abroadcasting dream. Today the show brings the network in huge money with a30-second commercial onAmerican Idolcosting around $500,000andmore than $600,000 for the finale, said Ray Dundas, an analyst for ad-buying firm Initiative. By comparison, he said, other top 10 shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” get closer to $240,000 per half-minute ad. Why, the big difference? Ray Dundas concludes that the difference is due to the fact that the size of the American Idol audience is so much bigger than the other top 10 shows as well as the fact that the age of the viewers being young adults, is preferred by advertisers.
Major companies such as Ford Motor Co., Coca-Cola Co. and AT&T havebought themselves acoveted spot on American Idol. They know a huge money maker when they see itand they will all surely agree that they arequite thrilledthat American Idol made it to airthe summer of2002! We know most of America is happy about it!
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Photos Courtesy: timesonline