ABC looks to knock hit skein off pedestal

Just in time for May sweeps, ABC News’ “Primetime Live” is working on a potentially explosive expose on the Fox phenom “American Idol.”

Exact details of the report are still in flux, since Alphabet staffers are still in the process of reporting the story and vetting details. It’s believed, however, that the report — in the works for several months now — will take a hard look at the relationship between “Idol” judges and contestants.

Depending on the final results of the investigation, insiders said ABC may air the report as a special single-topic edition of “Primetime” and make it a key, heavily hyped sweeps event. Special could air outside the show’s usual ultracompetitive timeslot of 10 p.m. Thursdays — perhaps on a Wednesday night at 10.

Insiders confirm that Fox and “Idol’s” producers have been contacted by ABC News reps, who’ve said the net is working on a story about the show. ABC hasn’t asked Fox or the producers to respond to any allegations, the insiders said.

Though it may seem odd that an ABC newsmag would devote serious resources to a competing net’s crown jewel, the huge ratings for “Idol” have made it fodder for numerous newsmag stories on other nets over the years. Indeed, in past seasons, “Primetime” has devoted entire hours to very flattering portraits of “Idol” contestants.

An ABC News spokesman refused comment.

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