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Monday October 22, 2007 8:17 pm

Is ‘The Next Great American Band’ A Reality Hit?

Next Great American BandReality TV has been good for the FOX network. The success of American Idol completely changed the once last-place channel. Now, FOX is determined to find repeat success with the one formula that works for them (besides cartoons). After the summer series On The Lot disappointed execs with low ratings, FOX blazed into the fall season with several new reality shows, two of them musically-themed. To balance out this act of bravery, FOX chose a known star to head the third reality show. Now, viewers can watch Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares on Wednesdays, after catching a rare successful drama for FOX on Tuesdays (House). Thursdays are jam-packed with game shows…so, is anyone even sticking with FOX until Friday, the very end of the week?

The network had better hope so, as this is the time slot where the much-touted The Next Great American Band two-hour debut extravaganza was shoved at the end of a packed TV week. The ambitious docu-style reality drama Nashville is already kicked off the schedule, leaving FOX’s musical hopes riding solely on finding a great American band…or, at least, viewers.

Read More | Idol Mania

Because I personally am obsessed with American Idol, I watched the show. It was the standard setup. The three judges (with rambunctious Sheila E. sitting in the middle) baked in the hot sun as band after band paraded their talent. Some of it was the standard freak show, which FOX avails themselves to for Idol pleasure every single year, while other bands were genuinely talented and interesting. The standout performance of the night occurred early in the show as a group of adolescent, long-haired boys took the stage. None of them older than 13, this group completely rocked out on their instruments, blowing the judges (and me) away. The Clark Brothers, three brothers from a large family, were another standout band with their rollicking rendition of ‘This Little Light of Mine’. 

Even before last year’s Idol was off the air, FOX was touting this show.  Maybe the network should have given it a better time slot then. Despite the hype and the Idol-like sheen, the debut captured the attention of only 3.57 million viewers. If this was a cable TV debut, those numbers would be cherished. But for FOX, it’s a dismal and total failure. Will more viewers tune in this Friday to see the final twelve bands take the stage? If not, The Next Great American Band could become FOX’s next great flop.

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