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You're Not "The One" For Me - July 27

What do The Disney Channel, USA, TNT, and Bravo have in common? Besides being respectable cable outlets?

The answer: they were all more watched on Tuesday nights than ABC's ballyhooed American Idol/Real World spawn, "The One: Making a Music Star".

It seems that every year, some show claims to be the "Idol Killer", and yet they end up getting killed themselves.

This year, not only did the Idol Killer get humiliated, it's now on life support.

Last Tuesday's premiere, in which 12 people came out of nowhere to grace a stage that, again, came out of nowhere, averaged a 2.3/4, the worst premiere this summer, and perhaps one of the worst of all time.

This Tuesday, it was even worse. The show, according to Broadcasting & Cable, posted a 0.9/3 in the 18-49 demographic that the show is seeking to target. In total, the show delivered a 1.7/3 in the first hour, and a slight uptick in the second, a 1.9/3.

And yet Master of Champions, which has performed a bit better for itself, has its last episode yanked in favor of the more popular "Grey's Anatomy." But I digress.

Negative reviews be damned, ABC had all of its hopes for the summer pinned on "The One" being a success. Not only was it not a success, but it has hindered any chance at ABC promoting its fall lineup.

And rightly so. After all, "The One", and the show it was spawned from "Operación Triunfo/Fame Academy", would not have existed were it not for the show that is currently paying FremantleMedia's dinner tab. Not only that, the show isn't even that entertaining to begin with. For one, they expect you to see 12 people, all coming from nowhere, and side with one immediately (if memory serves, that's why they have the audition phase on better produced series). The judges are a joke. The talent is lacking (almost of Rock Star caliber... I will concede that the talent of Rock Star is at least there), and we've all seen it before... the diva who can belt out a note, the rock star polished, the other diva who can belt out a note, the soul singer circa 1997, etc. The host, replete with piercings, soul patch, and rocker attitude, comes off as being a complete tool (then again, he was a VJ for Much before landing this gig, so that's to be expected).

And then there's dramma, which, if you knew me, you know that I'm not a fan of. I don't need to hear your sob stories or who you're hooking up with. Just sing, damn it.

So Why the Failure?

The question remains, why do so many knockoffs fail when the original (so much as Idol can be called original) succeed? Well, it's simple. No, I'm not being effete in suggesting that the answer is an easy one, that IS the answer. Idol, at its heart, is a very simple machine: people try out, they make it to the stage, and in the end there's only one.

"Rock Star" had the early results thrown in in an effort to skew the outcome.

"Fame" threw in a spoiler midway.

And now, you have "The One," which needs a star chart to determine the outcome. The bottom three in a public vote must sing one more time, then the judges vote to save one, then the players vote to save another, leaving one to go home. All this with a backdrop of behind the scenes action a la Big Brother.

I'm reminded of something a local radio DJ said recently about people with a developing backstory trying to be singers, or more accurately, people who try to parlay their singing fame into a self-serving cause. "We don't want to hear you get all preachy. We just want you to sing, damn it."

Perhaps that is why you fail, "The One." It's why "Rock Star" failed. If we want a story, we'll watch "Big Brother." We just want real people we can all relate to, and we want to root for them to succeed.

Little hard to do that when you have a few people that appear out of nowhere, isn't it?

Not the Only "One"

This summer is far from being "Summer of Suck Part 2", but it looks as if every reality game in primetime has a bit of a crux to bear. "Big Brother 7: All-Stars", proving that bringing back gamers for a tournament of champions only works if you are "Jeopardy!", is scoring less viewers than the previous season, an average of 7.5 million to an average of 8.5 million from last year. Still, it remains one of the summer's top draws, even though America can only stand so much Ali.... err, Nakom... err... you get the picture.

"Rock Star: Supernova", even with all the buzz surrounding Storm Large and certain.. err, pictures, could only muster a 3.9/6 this week, down from a 4.3/7 last week,

"Last Comic Standing", which once had a reason to stand proud, doesn't have that much of a luxury, as it scores only a 4.6/8, down from its season high of a 6.0/9, but still better than most unscripted fare out there. NBC is right to give this one another go, but they're ging to have to treat it very delicately, not like they did the last three seasons. You want to talk contestant overkill? Season three should not have happened.

Even "America's Got Talent", America's number one show not named "CSI", is starting to wane a bit. The premiere, in which we saw the bad and the ugly alongside the good, rated 8.8/14 in households. Going into the semi-finals, we see a 6.2/11, still relatively high, but down from the premiere.

Not the Summer of Suck that was last year, but dangerously close. In fact, the only shows that have little or nothing holding it back from complete and utter success are the two Fox entries "Hell's Kitchen" (up this week to a 4.6/9) and "So You Think You Can Dance" (up to a 5.7/9), both given the vote of confidence and an invite back to next summer's lineup.

Or perhaps all late-summer entries are like that. I'm not quite sure.

The Weekly Rant, or Extreme Improv Mini-Golf, coming soon to GSN

One of the big field trips for Game Show Congress was to be tapings of the first two shows of "Deal or No Deal's" second season, unfortunately the show was mired in production issues, and the first taping, which was to have lasted no more than five hours, lasted a big eight hours, long enough to push the second show to another day. Take into account that this was a two-hour season premiere that they were taping.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, GSN's "Chain Reaction" was taping its first episode. The taping ran three hours for a half-hour show.

Notice a disturbing trend yet? It seems that the deeper and deeper we go into his brave new world of game shows, the longer and more elaborate the production process tends to be. The vanguards, "Wheel", "Jeopardy!," and "The Price is Right", are relatively low-maintenance by comparison, and are able to tape to time, getting more product out faster and more efficiently. By comparison, "Millionaire" tapings also tend to run long, but not long enough to stop the show from completing a week's worth of product in a single day.

So what's up with "Deal or No Deal?"

Now, it's not a big secret that "Deal" is one of the most intensive, most elaborate productions in all of game shows today, if not in all of television period. You know this by watching, that they have to have every little detail down to the banker's offer on top of its game. But you would think with all the money NBC is making giving away all that sweet briefcase money, you could afford to tighten up on taping.

Or perhaps it's all those little intricacies and idiosyncrasies that keep it from going closer to time than we would like. For all its intensive production value, it's also no secret that "Deal" is probably one of the worst edited game shows of recent memory. Constant jumping of scenes, continuity errors and the like all glare from time to time, as if the producers say, "Great, NBC wants us on for another couple of hours every week."

So what's keeping these shows from cranking out more product in less time? I'm not even going to pretend that I remotely have an idea as to the cause. All I can do is suggest the following... the Australian, Dutch, and British versions go boom, boom, boom, throughout the game, often getting one game done within the half hour. When was the last time you could say that about the American version?

So you have the money, NBC. I'm sure you can find a way to speed up taping without compromising the quality of the program. I mean, all you have to do is look to those who have come before you.

Chico Alexander is still suffering jet lag from the trip back to North Carolina... one week later. E-mail him quick remedies at


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