Interesting article in the weekend Variety about one of my top 5 shows – American Idol. The whole thing is worth the read – here’s a clip:

Yes, it’s getting ridiculous.

In its fifth season, “American Idol” is re-arranging the entire showbiz landscape. There are hits and there are hits; this show is a full-fledged cultural phenom. “Idol” is steamrolling every show in its path and generating hundreds of millions of dollars every year in ad sales for Fox. But “Idol” riches are also trickling into many other sectors of the showbiz economy.

TV shows, newspapers and record labels that touch the show have enjoyed a lucrative ride on the “Idol” express. And the show’s shadow economy isn’t limited to media — it’s also lifted the fortunes of a wide array of “Idol” carpetbaggers, from Cingular to Coca-Cola to a host of licensees.

The attention is flattering, but Fox and the producers aren’t always thrilled by the frenzy and the risks of overexposure. Still, a frenzy is pretty much guaranteed right up through the show’s finale, which airs May 24, before the series goes into hibernation until next year.

“Idol” is not a saga of brilliant showbiz vision. As Bill Carter details in his new book “Desperate Networks,” every network passed on “Idol” before Fox came along. Even Fox was skeptical: the web only picked up the show after Rupert Murdoch, at the behest of various people including his daughter Elisabeth, instructed the network to
close the deal.