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May 06, 2009
They're playing Simon's song
American Idol may or may not be great television. But there's no denying that it is freakin' brilliant marketing. And tonight's results show is the ultimate example.
A couple bazillion viewers will tune in and will happily sit through a buttload of traditional TV commercials, several "special appearances" by celebrities who all just happen to have something new to sell right now, and several plugs for iTunes. By the end of the show, viewers will have absorbed sixty solid minutes of marketing content, all for a ten-second payoff. (Even if the losing contestant has a name with lots of syllables - like Allison Iraheta - and even if Seacrest talks real, real slow, I'm pretty it wouldn't take more than 10 seconds to say the loser's name.) Absolutely brilliant. Advertisers pay top dollar to run spots that each require more air time than the actual program content. And I'm guessing that the weekly "special guests" are paying Fox for the exposure, not vice-versa. Anybody know?
Simon is making noises about leaving the show after next season. He's saying maybe it's time for a change. What he's talking about, of course, is a change in the number of zeros Fox puts on his paycheck. And he should. American Idol is Fox's gravy train, and Simon's the engineer.
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