Fox's music reality shows got some major rumbles this week. First, published reports indicate that Jennifer Lopez may be done after two seasons on "American Idol."
Supposedly, she's said she's just too busy with other projects to serve as a judge full-time anymore. Funny, she didn't seem all that busy when she was first hired as a judge.
It comes at a time when Fox already indicated that "AI" might see some key changes after continuing to lose viewers this season. Could this be signs of the beginning of the end for the ratings juggernaut?
Frankly, even if you don't watch "AI," it always seemed to have enough buzz where you would hear about the top performers anyway. Even the least interested person knows who Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, etc. are. These days? Not so much. It seems to be more of a promotional vehicle for Lopez and Steven Tyler.
The news comes on the heels of Fox's other music-talent competition, "X-Factor," announcing Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as its new judges. While "X-Factor" posted big numbers its first season, they fell well short of expectations. Certainly, Spears and Lovato are big names in the pop world who will bring in their fan bases, but neither strikes me as a savvy, music-industry executive who should judge who is worthy to be the next pop sensation.
All of this comes as NBC's "The Voice" is presenting as a significant challenger to the Fox music franchise, and as ABC gets into the game with "Duets," a new series in which four music industry stars (including Clarkson) team up with hopeful singers to crown a winner. It's essentially "The Voice," carried one step further.
"AI" has almost become like a crutch for Fox, which can plug the show in anywhere on its schedule to draw big numbers. But with some of Fox's drama choices misfiring over the past few years, with "House" ending, and with shows like "Glee" bleeding viewers, it may be relying too much on "AI" to deliver the numbers.
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: One drama Fox has managed to develop is "Touch," (Fox, 9 p.m.) which has been renewed for a second season. It follows "AI" tonight.
CBS wraps up a very strong first season of "Person of Interest" at 9 p.m. (loved Macon-native Carrie Preston's surprise guest shot last week as her real-life husband Michael Emerson's love interest). Tonight, someone uses the computer against Finch and Reese as they try to protect a psychologist (Amy Acker). It's followed by the season finale of "The Mentalist."
NBC wraps up "Community's" season with three episodes at 8 p.m., and from 9-10 p.m., sandwiching the season finale of "30 Rock" at 8:30 p.m. "Awake" (NBC, 10 p.m.) airs part 1 of a two-part finale tonight.
ABC airs what turns out to be the series finale for "Missing" at 8 p.m., followed by the season finales of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal."