Forget the rumors of doom and gloom floating around surrounding the death of American Idol post Simon Cowell. Secretly producers of the show that defined the last decade have a plan to ensure that Idol not only survives the departure of Cowell, but will THRIVE.
Rumors of America's favorite nasty judge leaving Idol kicked into high gear when his big mouth brother, Tony, decided to announce to the world, "Simon will leave 'Idol' at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of 'X Factor' to US TV."
It's nice to know it's not just Alec Baldwin that suffers with annoying siblings!
Yet insiders tell me the brother's announcement came as no shock to the show's producers.
"Simon has made it very clear that he doesn't want to stay with the show forever. He can make far more money producing his own shows like America's Got Talent and producing Susan Boyle. Which is why viewers will start to notice less and less of Simon starting January 12, with the debut of season 9."
With the addition of Ellen, the transition will begin taking the focus away from the harsher side of Idol, a side that the public started to reject a few seasons ago when Rosie O'Donnell labeled it "Sad." Asking, "Is that what America thinks is entertainment? To make fun of someone's physical appearance and then when they leave the room laugh hysterically at them." Rosie is not alone with that opinion.
Simon has come represents a different era, a time when it was cool to be a bully in the White House or on the stage of a talent competition.
Now, with a new decade beginning, the mood of the nation has changed. We are in a very different place from 8 years ago when Idol first exploded onto the scene. If Idol is to thrive it will need to change too.
"Expect Season 9 to focus on the contestants, their dramatic story of leaving small towns to become superstars. After all it's the singers that get viewers watching and voting week after week, not the few harsh lines Mr. Cowell spits out with great pleasure," an insider tells me.
After all, great shows adapt and evolve. Think about 60 Minutes or The Today Show. They have undergone host changes several times and still remain stronger than ever.
"I'd argue that there will be more interest for a new host and the new blood that courses through the program than Season Whatever of Simon Cowell. A clever new host will make it his or her own and the fragile American memory will once again murmur "Simon who?" Adam Hanft, CEO of the Marketing and Branding firm Hanft Projects, told me.
So fear not America, we will get through our breakup with Simon together and maybe,
just maybe, it's time for a friendly Donny Osmond to be sitting next to Randy and Ellen!