TV's Musical Overload
Name that tune? Three new series join a packed schedule.
How may television singing competitions is too many? Within weeks of one another, ABC, Fox and The CW have announced new celebrity-fronted musical shows that will join a landscape already saturated with American Idol, The X Factor, The Voice and more. Insiders say the success of Voice is to blame for the renewed interest in the genre. Whereas Idol once spurred rival networks to roll out competitors, a series of failures (remember The One?) slowed the copycat trend in recent years. But NBC's Voice, launched in spring 2011 with stars Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton, is now averaging a 7.5 demo rating and 19.3 million viewers overall in its second season. And with that, the rivals will try anew. "On the one hand, it's a really crowded playing field, but on the other, it's going to come down to what a show looks and feels like and what kind of emotions it's able to generate," John Saade, ABC's executive vp alternative and late-night, says of Duets, which launches in the summer with first-year Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie and Robin Thicke. Around the same time, The CW will introduce The Star Next Door, featuring Queen Latifah, Gloria Estefan and John Rich as they -- like the Duets team -- travel the country looking for the best and most talented. Fox's Q'Viva! The Chosen, which follows Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and concert director Jamie King, is already on the schedule. In its second week on the air, the Saturday competition series drew fewer than 2 million viewers and a disappointing 0.6 rating with the younger demo. "I find it unbelievable," says one prominent agent of the addition of three more series, particularly in the wake of Idol's ratings tumble (down 21 percent from the 2011 season) and X Factor's below-expectations tune-in (12.7 million weekly viewers). "It's just a lot," the source continues, noting the competition from other talent offerings, from ABC's Dancing With the Stars to NBC's America's Got Talent. "They all require a significant investment from their audience."