A movie called The Purge is a surprise hit at the box office this weekend, but an even bigger purge is happening over at American Idol. Too bad the TV purge isn’t as profitable as the horror film!
As we’ve learned, Idol Season 12 had the worst ratings to date when it comes to the ideal demographic for advertisers — adults 18-49. Idol has seen a judges’s table reboot for the past couple of seasons, and they’ll see it again on Season 13, thanks to the departures of Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. No word yet on Keith Urban. However, the changes are now extending to longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick.
A show insider told TheWrap the execs were fired in another effort to shake things up and win back viewers (especially young ones). Nigel and Ken launched the show together in 2002, after working on the predecessor, the UK’s Pop Idol. Nigel, who is also a producer/judge on So You Think You Can Dance, left Idol in 2008 but returned in 2010.
Confusing matters further, Fox alternative programming chief Mike Darnell — called “the dean of unscripted TV executives” by Deadline — announced he was leaving after 18 years with Fox. Season 13 auditions are starting in July, but a senior executive told TheWrap, "We can't make any moves on 'Idol' without someone in there [in charge].” No one is steering the ship!
However, help may be on the way. According to a June 5 story in The Hollywood Reporter, David Hill was just hired to oversee Idol and X-Factor. He's currently senior executive VP at News Corp. and he'll serve as the network’s point person for the producers while the search continues for someone to take Mike Darnell’s place.
It all feels like a spaceship patched together with duct tape, but … fingers crossed for “lucky” Season 13 to find a way to fly itself to higher ratings!
Sources: TheWrap, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter