On May 13, 2013, Fox held its annual upfront presentation for advertisers at the Beacon Theatre in New York City to hype the shows that are on Fox’s 2013-2014 programming lineup. And based on several reports, including Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, “The X Factor” was outshone by two other Fox shows: “American Idol” (and all the drama about the show’s ratings downfall and rumored staff shakeups) and “The Following” (starring Kevin Bacon), which has become Fox’s highest-rated new show of the 2012-2013 TV season.
At the upfront presentation, “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell engaged in some on-stage banter with “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest that was described as “awkward” by Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter. Cowell was a judge on “American Idol” from 2002 to 2010, when he quit the show to launch “The X Factor” U.S. in 2011.
It’s been well-documented that in 2013, “American Idol” has had its lowest ratings in years and that the U.S. version of “The Voice” (on NBC) has knocked “American Idol” off of the throne of being the highest-rated TV talent contest in the U.S.
“American Idol’s” ratings have sunk so low that for the first time since 2004, the show will not be the highest-rated prime-time entertainment TV show in the U.S.
Randy Jackson, who was an “American Idol” judge since the show debuted in 2002, announced that May 2013 will be his last month with the show.
Cowell and Fox chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly have refused to comment on who will be replacing Britney Spears and Antonio “L.A.” Reid on “The X Factor” U.S. judging panel.
Likewise, Fox is not commenting on who will be on the “American Idol” judging panel for the show’s 13th season premiering in January 2014. (There are rumors that “American Idol” will have an entirely new panel and that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is getting fired.)
Here’s an excerpt from Deadline’s report about what happened on stage at the Fox upfronts: “More banter, this time seemingly unscripted and awkwardly funny, came during the introduction by Reilly of a potpourri of Fox reality stars onstage. ‘Where is Randy’? Simon Cowell asked. Responded Ryan Seacrest, ‘Ask Kevin,’ with Reilly standing next to him. Cowell would not discuss new judges addition to The X Factor, which is launching auditions in two weeks, noting that there will be some changes to the format next season.”
Here’s an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage of what happened on stage at the Fox upfronts: “Earlier in the day, Reilly confirmed that Randy Jackson would not be returning to American Idol, noting that there was ‘not an ounce of ill will’ on either side. But when Simon Cowell took the stage with his fellow Fox unscripted stars, he joked to his former Idol pal: ‘Where’s Randy?’ To which host Ryan Seacrest blurted, ‘Ask Kevin.’ The comment was followed by brief and decidedly awkward laughter from both the stage and the audience.
Cowell used to be Fox’s biggest star at the Fox upfronts, but Deadline reports that “The Following” star Bacon is the most-wanted celebrity at Fox upfronts: “Star Kevin Bacon, onstage alongside the stars of Fox’s new and returning shows, received the biggest ovation of the presentation.”
It’s no secret why Cowell’s star at Fox is fading. “The X Factor” has been described as the most expensive reality show of all time, but it doesn’t have the blockbuster ratings to justify all the money that’s been poured into the show. In the U.S., the show’s ratings decreased an alarming 25 percent in one year. According to the Nielsen Company, “The X Factor” U.S. averaged 12 million U.S. viewers per episode in 2011. In 2012, that number dropped to 8 million U.S. viewers per episode. At its ratings peak in 2006, “American Idol” averaged 30 million U.S. viewers per episode. In 2013, “American Idol” is down to about 11 million U.S. viewers per episode.
Unlike “American Idol” (whose judging panel stayed the same for several years), “The X Factor” U.S. has had several changes to its lineup of stars every year. Cowell is the only judge who has been with the show since the beginning. Paula Abdul (judge), Nicole Scherzinger (judge) and Steve Jones (host) were fired after the show’s first season. Reid was on the show for two seasons before he quit in December 2012.
Demi Lovato (judge) and Britney Spears (judge) joined “The X Factor” U.S. in May 2012 for the show’s second season. Spears lasted that one season before she announced her departure from “The X Factor” in January 2013. Several insiders told the media that Spears’ “X Factor” contract was not going to be renewed. Meanwhile, Lovato renewed her “X Factor” contract, so as of now, she and Cowell are the only announced judges for “The X Factor” U.S. in 2013.
Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian replaced fired host Jones in October 2012. In April 2013, Fox confirmed reports that Kardashian’s contract was not renewed (in other words, she was fired) and that Lopez would continue to host “The X Factor” U.S.
So that leaves just Cowell, Lovato and Lopez as the only “X Factor” stars to represent the show at the Fox upfronts in 2013.
It’s quite a contrast from 2011 and 2012, when “The X Factor” U.S. had its entire judging panel ready for Fox’s upfronts. “The X Factor” got a lot of publicity for hiring Spears (for a reported $15 million), but in the end, she turned out to be an expensive flop for the show.
On May 13, 2013, Lovato and Lopez were at Fox’s upfront party at Citrus restaurant in New York City. Cowell and Lovato were at Fox’s upfront after-party at Central Park’s Wollman Rink.
Cowell, Lovato and Lopez were at the Fox’s first Fanfront event, in which a select number of Fox fans were invited to meet and mingle with stars from Fox shows. Fifth Harmony, the girl group that came in third place on “The X Factor” U.S. in 2012, was also at the Fox’s Fanfront and performed for the crowd.
“The X Factor” U.S.’s Season 3 auditions in front of the judges begin May 21, 2013, in Charleston, S.C., so the show needs to confirm the entire judging panel before then.