There's nothing wrong with promotion but there is something a little obnoxious about a network forcing its talent to shill for another show on Twitter.
FOX has done exactly that with the launch of its new American Idol type show, The X Factor.
The show, created by Idol legend Simon Cowell, has a similar format to Fox's longtime hit with singers aiming to impress judges and a voting audience. The biggest difference between The X Factor and American Idol is there is no age limit and you can perform in groups rather than just solo. Also, instead of a contract label, The X Factor winner gets $5 million.
Appearing on the show with Cowell, will be fellow judges Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones. Abdul was a mainstay on Idol with Cowell and many critics have called Reid a clone of Randy Jackson, the third longtime Idol judge.
FOX has been promoting the show since last May with the oft-controversial Cowell, whose harsh bluntness was the most appealing part of Idol, as the centerpiece. The network took promotion of the show to new, pathetic levels by having talent from other FOX shows promote The X Factor on their Twitter feeds.
Seth MacFarlane, creator of FOX's Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, jokingly tweeted the following prior to The X Factor's debut.
He wasn't the only one. As noted by Deadspin.com, FOX apparently had a number its football related on-air talent tweet and promote the debut of The X Factor. Here's a sampling:
Looking forward to having Simon Cowell back on FOX. Make sure you tune in to X Factor tonight, tweeted Daryl Moose Johnston, former Cowboys player and FOX analyst.
In addition, coach Jimmy Johnson, former players Michael Strahan, Chad Pennington and hosts/play-by-play announcers Curt Menefee, Jay Glazer and Kenny Albert also tweeted. If Joe Buck was on Twitter you'd best believe he'd have something on The X Factor as well.
As mentioned, there's nothing wrong with promoting a show. FOX has been famous for inter-network promotion. If you've ever seen them put on a Superbowl, you'd know what I'm talking about.
But this is a little too shameless for my liking. I guess it's no different than the networks promoting their shows during the games, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's not like these guys are on company time when they are on Twitter.
Why make it so obvious too? If one or two FOX related talent tweeted and promoted the show, that's one thing. Having every one do it is ridiculous. When someone confronted Glazer about this, he denied it.
No, I'm a big Simon Cowell fan. Tells it like it is!!! RT @BenCarroll15: @Jay_Glazer Are u contractually obligated to promote all FOX shows??!! I enjoy NFL on FOX that's about it!! Glazer tweeted.
Either way, it didn't work as well as FOX may have hoped. An overnight report says the ratings for The X Factor were a lot lower for the past season of American Idol. The X Factor pulled in 12.1 million viewers and an 8.7 rating (4.2 rating for 18-49), which compared to the 16.7 rating for the premiere of last season's Idol, probably isn't what FOX was looking for.
Cowell has already said he'd be disappointed if the show didn't pull in 20 million viewers. Looks like you're going to be disappointed Simon.