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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

The Top 10 contestants arrive at the 2013 "American Idol" finalists party on March 7, 2013, in Los Angeles. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

"NCIS" tops ratings as "Idol" continues to slide


It was called the juggernaut, a show that brought people of all ages together in front of the screen and brought Fox millions in ad revenue.

Welcome to May sweeps, where the broadcast networks pull out all the stops, run all of the series finales in an effort to get more eyeballs than other parts up and down the dial. That part is the same, what's different is what we are watching.

"American Idol" has slipped from the top ratings-getter to the third competition show on the air. According to the latest numbers released by Nielsen, "Idol" finished behind both nights of "The Voice" and "Dancing With The Stars" last week.

The most popular show on television now? CBS drama "NCIS" has had more than 17 million households in each of the last two weeks. "Idol" has slipped so far that the season finale of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" beat the show and scored well among the highly sought after younger demographic.

Show producers and Fox executives have been scrambling to keep the decade-long ratings champ fresh enough to keep the audience. The cast of judges were shaken up again before this current season started production.

A few weeks ago, a few tabloid entertainment media outlets, like "The Hollywood Reporter" and "TMZ," reported sources telling them about a failed attempt to bring back former judge Jennifer Lopez and send Mariah Carrey into the sunset before the run of shows in the May sweeps. The judges will stay in place for now, and Lopez will appear on the show.

Talk by insiders, and I believe the chatter, that for the show to survive the entire judges panel of Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson will have to be completely replaced. Never mind how good or bad this current stable of contestants are, the shift on the show has gone away from being about the contestants and is more about what the judges will say. If you have judges that the viewing audience doesn't care about, this formula doesn't work.

So, the show has two options. First will be to get judges that can hold an audience, and second would be to reformat the show in such a way to make it about the singers competing and not focus on the panel. If it doesn't happen, we will probably see Fox scramble to find other options for its prime time schedule.

SPEAKING OF IDOL: Former "American Idol" Top 10 finalist Naima Adedapo will be performing at the Turner Hall Ballroom on Thursday night. Tickets are available at pabsttheater.org.

MORNING COMPETITION: CNN has announced that its new morning news program "New Day" will start on June 10. The show with Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan will run from 5 to 8 a.m. and broadcast from studios in New York.

Cuomo, former "20/20" host and news anchor on "Good Morning America" on ABC went to CNN in large part for the morning show. For the past few weeks, Cuomo has been put in front of the camera for breaking news coverage, including the Boston Marathon bombings.

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