'American Idol' finale wins Fox its 2nd best ever ratings numbers

MUMBAI: The conclusion to the second season of Fox's music based reality show American Idol has seen the Rupert Murdoch broadcaster make major gains.

Around 33.7 million people watched Wednesday night's two-hour results show which saw Ruben Studdard bag the title. The show saw 50,000 auditioners in six cities participate. A Reuters report indicates that the figures from Nielsen Media Research mean that the show gave Fox television it's second highest-rated night of entertainment programming ever. Judges for the show included pop sensation Paula Abdul.

Just 130,000 votes separated Studdard from his closest rival Clay Aiken. Fox received over 24 million votes through the phone for the two of them.

Fox is said to be planning a third season of the show. Meanwhile in a bid to extend the brand, Fox will launch American Juniors next month. The Murdoch broadcaster will soon showcase the search to find the country's best singers and dancers ages 6-13 who will ultimately comprise a five-member group. Talent searches took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Chattanooga. Thousands of kids, along with their fanatical parents, weathered wind, rain and impending tornadoes for a chance at stardom.

During the auditions, producers evaluated each contestant's singing and dancing abilities, and, as part of the show's production, will whittle down the group of thousands to 20 semi-finalists. At this point Uncle Sam takes over and votes for ten finalists.

Each of these contestants will perform individually in a Tuesday night performance episode. The home audience will then vote weekly for their favorite contestant. Results of the vote will be revealed during Wednesday night's show.

Each week, the performer with the largest number of votes will advance into the final group of five. The final five will then become a new performing sensation. American Juniors is produced by 19 TV Limited and FremantleMedia North America.

While, Fox extends the Idol franchise in the US, Star India is actively working on plans for an "Indian Idol". That looks like being the youth-based show that Star India COO Sameer Nair told is Star's next big programming project, in a recent interview. The show will be aired on Star Plus and not the network's music channel [V].

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