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