History Channel's surprise hit The Bible tops flailing American Idol in ratings with 13.1million viewers
It's the David and Goliath of television: an obscure religious miniseries has beaten television's former top show in the ratings.
The premier of the History Channel's The Bible attracted 13.1 million viewers, topping American Idol's 12.8 million viewers on Wednesday of the same week.
The ratings have confounded Hollywood's biggest decision-makers. Overt religious programming can be a notorious tough sell to the public, while American Idol has dominated television for the past eight seasons.
The about-turn is evidence again that Idol is just not the ratings juggernaut it once, while also pointing to an opportunity for networks to capitalise on the largely untapped religious genre.
Thursday's episode of American Idol sank to an all-time low 3.0 rating for its scheduled episodes, attracting a paltry 11.8 million viewers.
The ratings for television's former top show are less than half of what they were during the height of the show's success, when nearly 37 million people tuned in to watch.
'This is when the show pulls in its biggest viewing figures of the season,' a source told RadarOnline. 'Traditionally, the live show phase pulls in the highest ratings, and Fox will be looking at this closely to see how it performs.'
To add to its troubles, Idol judge Nicki Minaj showed up 20 minutes late for the reality show's first live broadcast, then proceeded to create a scene when her favourite contestant was voted off the competition.
She blamed her late arrival on traffic, but the unprofessional incident only added to the perception that Idol is a show that's sinking, and fast.
The Bible, meanwhile, drew 10.8 million viewers for its second episode, placing it at number one in its time slot and number 11 overall for the week.
Part one of the ten-part miniseries drew an even larger audience - a whopping 13.1 million viewers, cable television's largest of the year so far. The premiere attracted more viewers than both of last week's Idol episodes.
The Mark Burnett-produced programme retells the stories from the scriptures in a scripted format, from Genesis through to Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.
The miniseries' popularity is somewhat of a mystery. For one, the drama wasn't a hit with television critics, receiving a mediocre score of 44 on the Metacritic site.
'As a cable series, The Bible lacked the ready-made, large scale promotional platform and popular lead-in that can drive strong ratings for a new show on a major broadcast network, of the kind NBC was, for many years,' writes a columnist in The Washington Times.
The series also lacks a big name cast, other than Touched By An Angel's Roma Downey. Jesus Christ is played by Diogo Morcaldo, famous in his native Portugal but little known elsewhere.
It may just be that audiences enjoy a good biblical story. Nearly a decade ago, Hollywood was taken by surprise when Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ became the top-grossing R-rated flick of all time, bringing in over $600 million worldwide.
'I never had surgery on my face,' insists Nicki Minaj... but remains silent on booty implant rumors
She's been accused of having had a nose job, among other surgeries.
But Nicki Minaj has shot back at critics, crediting makeup for her contoured appearance.
The 30-year-old singer denied ever having a scalpel touch her face during an interview Thursday on Extra, but she made no mention about her purported 'booty' implants.
'I never had surgery on my face,' said the American Idol judge. 'When people see my makeup they think all types of crazy things that I'm doing to my skin, but it's makeup.'
NEW YORK — The "American Idol" judges' panel is now complete with the naming of singer-rapper Nicki Minaj and country crooner Keith Urban.
The Fox network officially tapped the pair with an announcement Sunday, confirming rumors surrounding them both just hours before the first round of auditions for next season was due to begin in New York.
Minaj is getting $12 million for a one-year deal on the hit Fox singing series, a person in the music industry with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the deal.
A representative for Urban wouldn't disclose the singer's compensation for "Idol."
The announcement also settled the status of Randy Jackson. He will stay put as the sole remaining original "Idol" judge, scotching rumors he might assume a different role on the popular talent competition.
This trio will join pop star Mariah Carey at a judges' panel now expanded to four members from its previous three. The AP reported in July that Carey is receiving just shy of $18 million for a one-year contract with a renewal option.
Steven Tyler is going back to his day job.
After two seasons as a judge on American Idol, the Aerosmith frontman says he won't be returning to the reality show and will, instead, be focusing once again on his band.
"After some long ... hard ... thoughts … I've decided it's time for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my rabbit," the rocker said in a statement Thursday. "I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band."
Tyler's announcement comes amid continued chatter that Jennifer Lopez will not be returning to the popular Fox show. "I am thinking that it's time for me to go," she recently said about tackling a third season.
In making his departure announcement, Tyler also reveals that Aerosmith is releasing a new album on Nov. 6. And he feels revitalized.
"The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass," he says in his statement. "Idol was over-the-top fun, and I loved every minute of it. ... Now it's time to bring rock back."
And his decision is supported by Idol's producers.
"Steven Tyler is a real 'Idol,' a rock legend," executive producer Simon Fuller said in a statement. "If you had told me 10 years ago he would be a judge on American Idol, I would have thought it impossible.... I completely understand his desire to get back to his life as the singer in America's greatest-ever rock band. American Idol will miss him!"
“American Idol” wants to keep on winning, which might explain why executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is reportedly considering adding the “winning” actor Charlie Sheen to the judge’s panel next season.
Lythgoe told gossip website TMZ that he liked to see Sheen and funnyman Jerry Lewis on the panel next season.
Lythgoe may have been joking, but Sheen was taking it seriously. The actor told TMZ that he’d be on board if producers of his new FX series “Anger Management” sign off and “Idol” is willing to show him the money.
“If the numbers move the needle AND ‘Idol’ matches 20 percent of my weekly salary for Autism Speaks, JDRF, and the Boys and Girls Club … then the hell with it. As we say, pour the smoke.”
“Idol” is reaching out to prospects in the event of a shakeup at the judges’ table. Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson have not yet signed on for the 12th season. Nor has Lythgoe, for that matter.
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