Nicki and Mariah Fail to Draw a Crowd

The Atlantic

Today in show business news: American Idol's premiere ratings were significantly lower than hoped, a good actress gets a good gig, and Karl Rove will be back for more.

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Last night's jumbo, action-packed season premiere of American Idol was down almost twenty percent in the ratings from last year. Which means that not as many people were as interested in seeing new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey bicker with each other as Fox was clearly hoping were. Sorry, ladies. And sorry to you too, Keith Urban? I guess? Everyone kinda forgot that poor ol' Keith was joining the show too. But he is there, right in between Nicki and Mariah, so, we gotta appreciate that. But yes, Idol's 17.9 million viewers (down from last year's 21.9 million) and 6.0 rating (down from a 7.4) is not a good sign for this aging television behemoth. Those are still very big numbers for television in 2013, but this old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be. And, I gotta say, as much as I like Mariah Carey and find Nicki Minaj at least interesting, I'm kind of glad that Fox's lame trumpeting about feuds and cat fights and all that vaguely anti-woman stuff backfired. I mean, I suppose it's possible it worked and that the ratings would have been even lower had the promise of wig-pulling not been in the air, but I sorta doubt it. I think, gulp, that people watch American Idol for the singers, not for staged judges antics. So, focus on that in the future, Fox marketing team. You got a pure product, don't dilute it with all that chemical muck. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Here's a nice TV story: Betsy Brandt, one of Breaking Bad's most unsung heroes, has been cast as the female lead opposite Michael J. Fox on his new NBC sitcom; that's the one that's already been picked up for 22 episodes, sight unseen. Meaning she's got a lot of steady work coming to her soon, for big network dollars. Sure she's just playing Fox's "tough and loyal wife," like so many sitcom wifey roles, but whatever. It's Michael J. Fox, it's a near-guaranteed 22 episodes, and it's a lotta scratch after working on basic cable for the last five years. This is good news. Well done, Betsy B. Hope the show is good. [Deadline]

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And now for some bad television news. Well, for some of you. Very few of you. Maybe one of you, tops. Syfy, née SciFi, has decided to cancel its superheroes series Alphas after two seasons. The show only peaked at around 1.7 million viewers, which is just not enough, even for Syfy. So that's bad news for most people, but isn't it sorta good news for David Strathairn? I mean, it was unclear what he was doing on that show to begin with, and now he's free. Free! Free to do movies and plays and other stuff. Not that he couldn't do that stuff while also doing the show and earning a steady paycheck, but, uh... Oh, wait. OK, yeah I get why he was on the show now. Hm. Sorry, David Strathairn. Sorry, everyone. [Entertainment Weekly]

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Praise be! Hot off the heels of the big sleazy Spring Breakers trailer comes word that another movie about sun-dappled youngsters doing bad things, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, will open this June. This is the one based on the real-life story about Valley teenagers who got caught robbing celebrities' mansions in Beverly Hills. It stars Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, and, bizarrely, Gavin Rossdale. This could be a good movie — it's Sofia Coppola after all, and she's made some good movies,  and this one sounds like it has an actual plot — so it's nice to know that it has a release date. I wonder how Alexis Neiers feels about this news. A strange mixture of anger and pride, I'd assume, as that seems to be her default setting in general. [Vulture]

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News ghoul (it's like a Nazgûl only boring) Karl Rove has signed a new deal with Fox News that will keep him as a pundit on the network through the 2016 election. Many thought Rovey's goose was cooked after his mortifying on-air meltdown this past election night — baby Rove didn't want to believe that he was wrong — but I guess not. Fox wants ratings, and Karl Rove gets ratings. Maybe more so now that he's made a big Baby Huey dope of himself on live television. So yeah, we're gonna have to endure this guy for another four years. Hopefully he'll be as wrong next time as he was in November. Haha, remember how wrong Karl Rove was? And then he threw a tantrum? That was great. [Deadline]

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