American Idol is in deep trouble
Sad news for fans of Fox’s “American Idol” came this week as the network has decided the singing competition will be canceled after next year’s 15th season. While “Idol” was once a ratings juggernaut, viewership has fallen hard the past several years after it reached a peak with an average of nearly 31 million viewers in 2006.
And though the show’s rating have dropped, it is still quite successful in many demographics, which makes it strange that Fox decided to pull the plug. Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will return as judges for the final go ’round with Ryan Seacrest hosting.
Those who still tuned in to the music reality show are probably upset it will be gone. But I’m not. I never liked the show and find it annoying that its success also produced so many imitators. Similar to the 10 television shows below — many of which were, at one point, high-quality — in terms of my personal interest, “American Idol” should have been canceled much earlier.
Maybe Fox executives are thinking along the same lines as the famed baseball manager who signed Jackie Robinson to his first Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The team’s general manager, Branch Rickey, is credited with saying that it’s preferable to “trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.” Too bad Fox is about 10 years behind on that one …
The last two seasons of “Seinfeld” took the show from revolving around curious and quirky coincidences to outright wacky plot lines. There is no better proof of this departure than the two-part finale, which had the gang of four locked up in prison to serve a long sentence for not helping a man who was being robbed.
From the original cast to its several spinoffs, “Happy Days” was a television classic. It just went on for too long. Once the main character, Richie Cunningham (played by now-revered director Ron Howard) left the show, the producers should have looked for a way to end it. But instead, it lingered on as new characters, like Fonzie’s erstwhile and unknown cousin Chachi came on the scene.
The first five seasons of this HBO show broke the television mold, but then it went way too far. No television show had ever been dissected or had every detail pored over the way this show was. But after Tony was shot by Uncle Junior and he went into a coma in season six, it got way too abstract and just plain weird.
“MARRIED WITH CHILDREN”
Adding a new character, especially if it’s some cutesy kid, never means a show is heading anywhere good. After producers of the long-running Fox show added Seven, the son of Peggy Bundy’s cousin in the seventh season, the bawdy show, which had been going downhill for a while already, only got worse.
“TWO AND A HALF MEN”
After the driving force behind the show’s popularity, Charlie Sheen, went on his where he ripped the show’s creators and used out-of-date 1980s terms to describe things, the show should have folded up tents. Instead, Ashton Kutcher took over and was very handsome, but he lacked the acerbic wit and nasty charm of Sheen’s character.
When Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott left to marry, the show should have gone away, too. With the help of guest appearances, there were still some funny moments, but “The Office” lost the ability to create good storylines with characters that people cared about while also making hilarious fun of the completely mundane.
“LAW & ORDER” (AND ITS MANY VARIATIONS)
Just pick one, not that there are any shortage of compelling real-life cases that can be adapted to television/court dramas. With the proliferation of other versions — the original “Law & Order” was the best — the entire franchise should be shut down. At one point, the versions included the original, which ran for 20 of its own seasons, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and “Law & Order: LA.” Phew, I need some water after that. Though the original was cancelled in 2010, there is a rumor NBC may bring it back for a limited-run. Ching ching.
With all of its Millennial generation geared nonsense, this HBO show was annoying from the beginning. Heading into its fifth season in 2016, this viewer has had enough Brooklyn rooftop parties, cliched New York references or guys with weird hairstyles. This show depicted a bizarro and gentrified-viewed version of New York City, which was grating to many at the outset.
As a huge fan, it sort of pains me to say this, but the quite-possibly-best-television-show-ever has outlived itself. While it may still be superior to much of the drivel that remains on the idiot box, “The Simpsons” is nowhere nearly as funny or relevant as it once was. Because it is animated, the show doesn’t have the same time constraints as others but, come on, let’s be realistic — it can’t go on forever. Or can it?
“CSI” (AND FRANCHISES)
Another television series that produced others which weren’t as good. This franchise grew to include “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: NY” and “CSI: Cyber,” which premiered this year. The original is still ongoing, and has been since 2000, but it might be time to cancel the entire franchise.