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Jerry Lewis Bashes American Idol, The Biggest Loser, And Reality Television

August 04, 2011 12:29 PM by Lisa Princ

Really? Who doesn’t love FOX’s American Idol or NBC’s The Biggest Loser? Jerry Lewis, that’s who! That’s right, Jerry Lewis recently went on a bash fest about American Idol, The Biggest Loser, and reality television in general! What did Jerry Lewis say? Read on to find out!

There is no doubt that television has changed since comedian Jerry Lewis’ heyday, but does he really hate reality television? You betcha! Jerry Lewis claims he is a fan of television, but not so much of reality television as he said: “I don’t allow people in my family to use the term ‘TV.’ It’s ‘television,’ it’s a miracle, and deserves respect.”

And then he went on a bash fest, starting with one of the most popular and highest rated shows – American Idol. Jerry Lewis revealed his true feelings for American Idol as he stated (while promoting his new documentary): “The kids who are on American Idol, they’re all McDonald’s wipeouts. They’ve all been dumped. They’ve worked there and now they’re doing that. And of course they all play a guitar, which takes the place of music.” You have got to be kidding Mr. Lewis? Maybe he completely missed Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and all the other successful Idols out there?

Don’t worry American Idol fans, Jerry Lewis did not stop there as he also had a message for NBC’s The Biggest Loser, which happens to be one of the most inspiring of the reality shows on the air today. Jerry Lewis bashed The Biggest Loser saying: “This business is scrounging around for what to do. The medium is busy knocking its brand out to display the fat lady at 375 pounds (who) in two months is gonna be 240. Who gives a shit?” and then he went on with his rant adding: “The industry has destroyed itself. We don’t have the soul in our industry that we had when I was working in it. The soul has been desperately deteriorating [in] it, only because you’ve got a guy running a network whose aunt died and left him some stock.”

Wow, those are some harsh words about our favorite and extremely popular reality shows. What do you think about Jerry’s comments? I am honestly surprised that he chose two of the more inspiring shows to pick on, and left the Real Housewives unscathed – I’d hate to see what he would have said if asked about those!

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Topics: American Idol, FOX Reality TV Shows, NBC Reality TV Shows, Reality TV, The Biggest Loser |

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19 Responses to “Jerry Lewis Bashes American Idol, The Biggest Loser, And Reality Television”

  1. Dan Gillogly Says:
    August 4th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    He’s Right! There is no quality standard anymore. The networks got lazy when they discovered this treasure trove of FREE talent willing to go on TV and show what little talent they have got. What? I’m fat? That’s a talent? If I lose 200 lbs, guess what? I was supposed to do that anyway. It’s in my best interests and it’s the right thing to do.

    So what’s next? We’re going to see a show about me helping a little old lady cross the street? It’s the right thing to do, isn’t it?

    Then we get to sit on our sofas at home and criticize those lousy singers or those fat people. Its BS and if you don’t think so, then go back and YouTube some of the old shows. If you can get past the fact that it is grainy Black and White TV, it’s not in HD, then you will see some REAL talent.

    Honed after YEARS on the stage in front of live audiences. They know what works. Not because they listened to a recording or watched a video.

    Cudos Jerry! You are a true talent and a generational visionary.

    BTW — to the writer of this article — Go on ahead and criticize Jerry Lewis all you want. It’s your podium. But let me ask you. When have you ever written a piece of comedy without criticizing? Something genuinely funny that came out under a deadline of a broadcast schedule before a live audience.

    It’s easy to write from behind a computer. Get out in front of a live broadcast audience and make ‘em laugh. Then you can go on ahead and judge one the greats like Jerry Lewis.

  2. Paul Konanz Says:
    August 4th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree in general with Mr. Lewis. The networks have increasingly and desperately scoured the landscape for anything to increase their ratings and as a result the quality of “TV” has been eroding for some time. He and I might choose different negative favorites (yes Real Housewives is one of mine)but the point is the same. I think the educational level of “TV” is now about the 2nd grade unfortunately, but then with a national high school dropout rate of 25% maybe that’s what it takes. Too bad.

  3. jason Brando Says:
    August 4th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Jerry must be talking about Comcast, a company that was founded by gangsters and run by the next generation with an Ivy League pedigree. The decline in programming with the need for cheap content that was inspired by Cable and now run through the networks is sickening. The same method to foist light weight candidates for public office that are sponsored and developed by these cretins.

  4. Lisa Princ Says:
    August 4th, 2011 at 4:43 pm


    I am not criticizing him, he is entitled to his opinion as we are to ours. I just found it ironic that out of all the reality shows out there, he chose two of the best shows to pick on. I could not perform like Jerry Lewis, I am not a comedian, and I never said he was bad a performer :)

    As for the fat being a talent, (since I assume you are referring to The Biggest Loser) it’s not about a talent. No one has ever claimed that The Biggest Loser was a “talent competition.” Those contestants struggle with something that most of us have never struggled with in our lives – morbid obesity. The purpose of that show is to inspire and motivate them to get healthy.

    I do feel that he was a tad bit harsh in his comments about the American Idol contestants. Like I said, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood prove him wrong :)

  5. TylerDurden Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 12:34 am

    1) What did you watch on television last night? Name the shows, the actors, their character names and the plot)

    2) Lewis is spot-on. To quote Bill Simmons, ” Nobody in Hollywood knows anything”. That’s why when you buy your 500 channels of cable you get 500 channels of crap.

  6. Frank A Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Jerry lewis is 100% right!!!

  7. lazare cohen Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 4:07 am

    let’s stop looking at the frame and focus on the picture…Money is the picture..Ratings are money for the network..Talents and Scripts Soul and Professionalism doesnt count any more..
    reality shows proves one thing..A LOT OF PEOPLE DO HAVE CLEAR HEADS, to sit and enjoy GARBAGE T.V.

  8. Jane Davison Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Ah yes, the characters Lewis did acting like a spazzed out “retarded” person…now that was soul.

    He has always been self involved and out of touch with the pulse of American Culture. His sappy stuff on the Telethon might be heart tugging, but always seemed phony to me. More about “him” and the ability it gave him to have a more legitimate platform for his scenery eating over indulgence.

    I agree that the soul of American TV has become shallow, but I don’t agree his was particularly more worthy.

  9. jim petuch Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I agree with him. Too bad they didnt ask him about “Joisey Show” and the Planet of the Apes extra Snooky. Other people from Hollywood can bash the USA but thats OK. The guy is an Amrican icon. What are they worrying about? The generation he is talking about doesnt care about the telethon. All they car about is partying, taking thousands of pictures of themselves and voting for a loser like Obama.

  10. Nicole Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but they should really take the time to actually find out some info on the subject. If you make generalized comments about something, you just come off as cranky and out of touch.

  11. Gerry Greenberg Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Old and cranky.

  12. Nicole Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Anyone can have an opinion, but they should really take some time to find info on the subject. Generalized comments like that makes a person appear cranky and out of touch. Jim, what does any of this have to do with Obama? Stick to the subject. Your comment is just silly and immature.

  13. Gator Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    The best thing about a Television set is the on and off switch and the channel selector. As the owner
    You and you alone are in charge of what you watch. As for Mr. Lewis, he has done wonders for Muscular Dystrophy Association that’s a given but that is where it stops. Jerry Lewis like
    Jim Carrey is about as funny as a broken Leg .Lewis is a dirty nasty old man and he was a dirty
    And nasty young man. Do a little research it’s all out there. Pathetic ,very pathetic.

  14. stephy Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Mr. Jerry Lewis is still so funny even his comments about American Idol and the biggest loser he can say what he want he is a legend and my all time favorite actor/ comedian sometimes people need to learn not to take everything so seriously he is a old man he probably don’t mean what he said he probabaly don’t no what he said although in a way he is telling the truth all i no i love Jerry Lewis and you should to…

  15. Gute Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    He is right, television today is an outlet for for quantity noise that have no notion of quality.It is a reflection in general of a mindless generation lost.

  16. birder Says:
    August 5th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    The executives who use television as a medium just proved Jerry’s point by opening their mouths and getting rid of one of the best, most humane spokesmen televisiion ever had. Indeed, they have “lost their souls.” And we all know it. Thanks for standing up for us Jerry. Sorry you lost your job. You’re the best.

  17. J. Weissman Says:
    August 9th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Jerry Lewis is 100% CORRECT!!! Take a GOOD look at the reality shows on television right now; they are despicable, trading on people’s hopes and dreams – and WEIGHT. Jerry Lewis is one of the greatest comics to ever LIVE, and even though he sometimes sounds “cranky”, he’s usually RIGHT.
    Too bad. I love ya, Jerry. LOTS of us do.

  18. Linda Says:
    August 22nd, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Hey if the produces and writers will get with it, and create new shows, the repeat show that were done in the 70′s and 80′s repest shows like charlies angles, made movies from tv show like bewiched such like that then reality shows would not be so important to ppl like jerry lewis and others
    his life as a actor is pretty much over i liked him but he has no reason to bash reality shows he rambles more then really talk true life
    Jerry get a better life and leave reality shows alone, it is the writers fault not those shows.

  19. You are soooo stewpit! Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    For God’s sake, Lisa, learn some basic writing skills! I’m sure Jerry would have bashed your “magazine” too if he’d ever heard of it. Good luck on your climb to the top.


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