We're still six months away from another season of American Idol, but even though Fox has it on its winter schedule, should they even go ahead with it for another year?
I ask because they may have to start hunting around for new judges again to work with the Last Original Judge, Randy Jackson. Jennifer Lopez is being coy about leaving. Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, on the other hand, made his intentions crystal clear earlier today when it was reported that he was leaving after 2 seasons.
Suffice it to say that Tyler had his fair share of tabloid moments in his 2 years on Idol, but he embarassed himself with a campy commercial for Burger King that made the rounds a few weeks back (I'd post it here, but it is not worth the time), easily the lamest of the series that also featured Salma Hayek, soccer star David Beckham (twice), and The Tonight Show's Jay Leno.
As for J-Lo, to borrow a line from an old Clairol shampoo ad, will she or won't she come back. She's dropped hints that she won't return. If she doesn't return, well, in this writer's opinion, that leaves the door open for Paula Abdul to return. A reunion with Simon Cowell on The X-Factor didn't work so well, and she was bounced after 1 season there. I am not sure about the series she did for CBS earlier this year, but if that also was a failure, suffice to say it might not take much for Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller to pick up the phone and ask her to come back "home". Over the last couple of seasons, they've tried out Ellen DeGeneres, who left after 1 year, and Lopez as replacements for Paula, but while it hasn't been admitted yet, I'd venture to guess that there is a certain amount of discomfort in filling the center chair.
In Tyler's case, there ain't exactly a rush to find another aging rocker to fill the void. About the best candidate for the job might be former Twisted Sister vocalist Dee Snider. I honestly can't think of anyone else at this point.
Meanwhile, NBC's The Voice is welcoming singer Michael Buble for next season, but no indication if anyone is actually leaving, insofar as I know. All I read about when it comes to America's Got Talent isn't so much the contestants themselves, but rather a feud between Howie Mandel (ex-Deal or No Deal) and Howard Stern, who joined the show this season after Piers Morgan left for CNN. Mandel, in case you haven't paid attention, replaced David Hasselhoff, who's off mooching Cumberland Farms coffee these days.
Is it safe to assume that all of these talent shows are in line to jump the shark? Yes. However, as long as these shows continue to deliver the ratings the networks want, they'll press on, however gamely. Fox has six months to figure out if they can deliver a 12th season for American Idol, or otherwise find something different that would be more appealing to an underserved corner of the audience. If in fact Jennifer Lopez does follow Steven Tyler out the door, some disreputable rags will start the death march, knowing they ain't going to have the annual fabricated tales of these shows being rigged to fall back on.
If this is the end of American Idol, Fox only has itself to blame, because the true jump the shark moment may have come one of three ways:
1) when they added a 4th judge (Kara Dioguardi), who lasted two seasons, or
2) when Paula Abdul left, or
3) when Simon Cowell left.
There is such a thing as overmilking the golden goose when it runs dry. It's happened before, it'll happen again, and it'll keep happening as long as network executives don't know when to say when in terms of a show peaking and leaving on top. They tried syndicating reruns of Idol (the short-lived American Idol Revisited), and that didn't work, either. Heck, that might as well be option 4 for a jump the shark moment.
You just know Randy Jackson's wondering where his dawgs are at. Hmmmm. He wouldn't be too tempted to call in Mario Lopez, who's hosting America's Next Dance Crew on MTV, would he? Ya never know, dawg.