A few weeks ago we looked at the upcoming season of American Idol and asked, “Has Idol lost its mojo”? We concluded that, despite the longevity of the show, we saw continued life for Idol, albeit with more modest ratings in the post-Simon world.
However, in just a few weeks since our latest look, we now ask whether Idol has “jumped the shark” and whether the end is nearer than we may have previously thought.
For those (few) of you who are unfamiliar with the jump the shark terminology it was originally derived from the 1977 episode of Happy Days when Fonzie literally jumped a shark while water skiing (wearing his leather jacket of course) in California. The expression was popularized in 1985 by Jonathan Hein. Hein explained the concept as follows: "It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on...it's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it 'Jumping the Shark.'”
Some might have argued that Simon’s departure was the shark-jumping moment for Idol already. Perhaps so. But in the past week alone, Ellen has decided to leave as a judge and Kara DioGuardi has been axed. (Actually we wished Randy Jackson had gotten the axe, sorry dawg).
So basically the show will be trying to reconstruct its panel of judges and its soul. With Jennifer Lopez apparently in (after Elton John and Barry Manilow reportedly passed), there’s also lots of discussion of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith not far behind. Huh? What’s going on?
Sounds like desperate, shark jumping time to us. The 10th anniversary of Idol is straight ahead as are the plans are for a massive 10th anniversary marketing campaign. But it’s hard to celebrate the past with significant changes in the current line-up.
Perhaps the reality is that the concept of Idol has run its course, and FOX will merely be managing the slope of the decline, and like the mega hits of TV that came before it, will soon be history. Time will tell. Perhaps sooner that we all thought.