Looking at it realistically, American Idol doesn’t need to improve itself. The show is fine the way it is. If you were the most successful reality show in the history of the medium, if you were by far the most watched TV show on the planet, if you had created and nurtured a number of current pop stars, would you change? No, probably not. There’s no need, right?
Actually, there’s something to be said for constant change and improvement. Although Idol has still been the number one primetime TV show in the US this past year, the ratings have stumbled a bit. American Idol would be served well if they decided to add some new wrinkles to the show. TV longevity is often borne out of a show’s willingness to change throughout the years. There’s a reason the shelf life of prime time game shows is so low: they stay the same. Never underestimate the short attention span of us TV viewers.
Survivor is a prime example of a reality show that has persevered and remained popular throughout the years by make slight alterations to the game and keeping things fresh. Perhaps American Idol is content with the viewer numbers they are getting. There are certainly FOX ratings gurus who have studied the trends from season to season and know more than we do. It’s possible that Idol reached a peak viewership in earlier seasons and are now settling into a ratings plateau.
As the top-rated show in the world, it would take brass balls to make any serious changes to the fabric of American Idol. But, in the past, FOX has not shied from making changes from season to season on Idol. Hell, after the initial breakout season, they fired co-host Brian Dunkleman. While it may have been obvious to anyone with fully-functioning motor skills that The Dunkleman was dead weight, it still was a bold move by FOX to mess with something that was so popular. Recently, Idol has moved away from skits featuring the contestants and cheesy group dance numbers. Both were welcome changes.
The pervading question, though, remains: if you can improve a TV show, regardless of how popular it is, why not go ahead and make those changes? The fan base of American Idol, after six long seasons, is solid and unmoving. It’s going to take something earth-shattering to turn fans away at this point. The show is flawed, and there are some changes that could help Idol age better than some of its reality counterparts.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of a few changes that we believe could improve American Idol for the future.
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-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of EW.com)