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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 15:21 GMT
Reality TV continues US domination
Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul
American Idol was one of the biggest hits of 2002
Reality TV continues to dominate television schedules in the US as American Idol and Joe Millionaire attract millions of viewers.

The ratings for the week 27 January to 2 February showed American Idol's 29 January edition had attracted 24.1 million viewers

It made it the second-biggest show on US TV that week after police drama CSI.

The figures are extraordinary because shows usually have to attract many older viewers to get such numbers, US trade newspaper Variety said.
Joe Millionaire
Joe Millionaire has women competing for the love of a fake millionaire

American Idol is based on the successful ITV1 show Pop Idol, which launched the careers of pop stars Will Young and Gareth Gates, while Joe Millionaire sees women compete for the charms of a fake millionaire.

Both are shown on the Fox network.

The 28 January episode of American Idol and the week's instalment of Joe Millionaire came third and fourth highest in the ratings, Variety said.

American Idol 2 opened with a record 26.5 million viewers, making it the biggest première TV show in the Fox network's history.

It even eclipsed the final of the previous series, where nearly 23 million people watched waitress Kelly Clarkson win the competition.

'Short-term fix'

But some have warned that the appeal of reality TV will not last.

Last month, the entertainment chief of Warner Bros said reality TV was no replacement for good drama and the networks would have to take care.

"I think you have to be very careful with reality programming because it can be very seductive," Jordan Levin said.

"But it can start to force you into a place where you're juggling your schedule to satisfy a very long short-term fix."
Kelly Clarkson
American Idol has made a star out of Kelly Clarkson

The downturn may already have started.

MTV reality show The Osbournes, which follows the lifestyle of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and family, has had a disappointing second series.

After starting with 6.6 million viewers in its first week the series has struggled to get figures of four million for more recent episodes.

See also:

15 Jan 03 | Entertainment
08 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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18 Oct 02 | Entertainment
08 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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