Producer says 'Idol' tripped up last season


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - In addition to his judge/executive producer duties on So You Think You Can Dance, Nigel Lythgoe is also an executive producer on the Fox monster hit American Idol. He praised the Dance contestants, saying, "There isn't a Sanjaya here," but noted that mistakes were made on Idol last season.

"I think Sanjaya helped the last season very well when we were sort of going down and everyone's going, 'Oh, the talent's not as good this year.' Sanjaya came through for us."

Lythgoe said Idol spent too much time on the Idol mentors and not enough time on the competitors.

"We didn't know them as much as we knew the Kelly Picklers from the season before," he said. "So this season, we've really gone out of our way to focus on the competitors' thoughts, their feelings, their emotions, so that we're all attached to them a little more than if they were just dance competitors, and I think that's affected us all."

While Lythgoe said the next round of Idol will look to "increase the emotional hooks for the audience," he doesn't want to do it at the expense of the talent. "I think there is enough talent with enough great stories to warrant the fact that we are basing it on talent," he said.

Spike TV's The Kill Point premiered with 2.1 million viewers nationwide Sunday night, a good number for Spike TV, boosting the network's ratings 111 percent in the time period compared with a year ago.

Kill Point didn't score as high as last summer's premiere of the now-canceled Blade (it had 2.5 million viewers), but its ratings were pretty stable throughout the two hours, which generally indicates viewers are more likely to return. Blade shed viewers consistently and drew more female viewers, not Spike's target. Sixty percent of the Kill Point audience was male.

•CBS has canceled reality show Pirate Master, effective immediately. The remaining five episodes will stream online at, posting every Tuesday.

•HBO has renewed its deserving drama Big Love for a third season.

•A prime-time Sesame Street special featuring the Muppets and guest stars Ben Stiller, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and Tony Sirico (The Sopranos) is in the works for Christmas.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen, the TV editor for the Post-Gazette, is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.

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