‘American Idol’ overruns have become unprofessional

Bowersox It’s not like Ryan Seacrest didn’t warn people Tuesday: Wednesday’s two-hour “American Idol: Idol Gives Back” was going to be jam-packed, so set your DVRs to run long.

Of course, that warning came after the show’s scheduled finish Tuesday, so a lot of folks probably didn’t see it. Nor did many see Wednesday’s announcement of which of the contenders (like Crystal Bowersox, left) would make it into the next round.

“American Idol” overruns have become so common that they’re harder and harder to forgive. The first time a kid wets his pants might be amusing; the 100th time, not so much. “Idol” has had this problem for years and seemingly has done nothing to solve it.

The show’s insistence that viewers bear the burden of adjusting their recording devices has become more than a bit annoying and now feels like a form of contempt for the audience, which “Idol” assumes has nothing better to do. (Even if people do schedule extra minutes for “Idol,” it could affect their ability to record other shows in the next timeslot.) It’s inexplicable in a sense that Fox, as much as it values “Idol,” would tolerate this, considering such examples like how Tuesday’s overrun marred that night’s heavily promoted “Glee.”

It’s not like “Idol” is a hockey game, which could end whenever. “Idol” didn’t invent live television. For more than half a century, live shows have been on TV, and it’s possible that none has been worse than “Idol” at hitting its deadline. “Saturday Night Live” is in its 35th season of live broadcasting, inserting and pulling sketches at the last minute, yet is virtually perfect at shutting down on time.

I’m not that invested in “Idol” anymore, but there are, oh, 20 million or so folks who are. The “Idol” producers should be able to actually be able to end the show when it’s supposed to. Or, if it looks like a challenge, then just schedule a longer show. They need to do something, because the tardiness stopped being cute a long time ago.

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  1. Troy says:

    Wow Jon, bitter table for 10? Ever think FOX and affiliates might WANT these occasional overruns? Gee, how to get viewers into their local newscasts? Most central and west coast stations are given heads up to the exact minute; and days prior the network usually gives some kind of notice. Sure it’s unprofessional according to television standards of days past but in this world of anything for the buck – its the norm. That being said, not saying it’s right, it is annoying for viewers and DVRS, but plan ahead. It’s not THAT hard to do. And your article was ridulously bitter. LOL.

  2. Luke says:

    Great article.
    I am convinced however that it is done on purpose. Even though people get angry, everytime Idol goes over I am sure there are people who stick with Fox since they already missed the beginning of the next show.
    Your right though, given it is season 9, it truly is unexcusable.

  3. Jon Weisman says:

    Yes, the way they affect your ability to watch the shows after Idol is definitely part of the problem.

  4. ruth says:

    I agree. we should not have to miss part of the next hours shsow because Idol cant keep the show at an hour.
    a whole lot of “stuff” could have been eliminated in this weeks show. it was way overcast.

  5. rentagoodbook says:

    Actually, my biggest problem with Idol over-runs isn’t with Idol, it’s that I have to adjust the recording time for Glee, so that I can watch Lost in real-time. Curse the TV scheduling gods to put them on opposite each other!

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