OnMedia: Simon-less "Idol" thrives
Now that Milwaukee's "American Idol" finalist, Naima Adedapo, has been sent home, it's a good time to look at how the show has fared in its first season without Simon Cowell.
And we might as well start by turning to Cowell, himself, for a quickie analysis:
"Honestly, it is a better show than last year," he told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday night. "It feels to me that they've got their energy back, that they're confident, they're competitive ... I think it's a good show."
I'll have to admit, I'm surprised. Whether it's a good show or not, the remake of "Idol" in its 10th season has definitely been a success.
It's not that I'm a fan of the judging this year -- it's far too complimentary to the singers and lacking in the insight that Cowell offered with an honesty that's rare on network TV.
And I'm definitely not a fan of the show's new star, Steven Tyler, whose shtick is repetitive and whose leering at the young female singers is annoying.
But the show is more focused on the performances, with experts like music producer Jimmy Iovine, mentoring the finalists before they sing.
Mostly, I'm surprised at the ratings. The move to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule has transformed the Thursday night race. We're still talking about "Idol" drawing in more than 20 million viewers, an amazing accomplishment for a show in its 10th season.
But, the again, thanks to the departure of Simon Cowell, it's something of a new show.
Speaking of "Idol": Season four finalist Constantine Maroulis is due on tonight's results show -- at 7 p.m. on Channel 6 -- performing his new single, "Unchained Melody."
I spoke with Maroulis last week in advance of his Milwaukee appearance at the end of the month in the musical "Rock of Ages," and he was effusive when he spoke about the impact of his "Idol" experience.
"It's been just huge," he told me. "That was an opportunity I literally couldn't pay for with all the money in the world."
On TV: Daytime talker Oprah Winfrey launches her final 35 new shows today at 4 on Channel 12, leading to her syndicated talk show finale on May 25. There's an actual -- and official -- countdown on her Web site.
- Mark Siegrist sat down with interim Milwaukee County Executive Marvin Pratt to talk about his final days in the office for WisconsinEye. Although the public affairs channel isn't available in southeast Wisconsin on Time Warner Cable, you can see the interview at WisconsinEye's Web site.
- TV Guide says Meredith Vieira may be leaving NBC's "Today Show" when her contract is up later this year.
- E! has an "E! True Hollywood Story" on Sarah Palin in the works for April 24, according to Mediaite.com.
Glenn Beck's other job loss: A day after I broke the news that WISN-AM (1130) was dropping Glenn Beck's syndicated radio show, Fox News Channel and Beck announced that he would "transition off" his daily TV show.
Instead, Fox News and Beck's production company, Mercury Radio Arts, "will work together to develop and produce a variety of television products for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News' digital properties."
If there's one incident that doomed the daily Beck show, it was this clip of him appearing on Fox News Channel's morning "Fox and Friends":
Wow, Tim, you are really gonna miss Glenn Beck, eh?
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