X Factor creation … Teen idol Harry Styles (right) of One Direction benefited from the music TV genre, but Simon Cowell says it has become too tired. Photo: Getty Images
"They flooded the market," said Simon Cowell, perhaps the individual most responsible for turning amateur singers into superstars, with his roles on American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. "There have just been a ton of shows and something has simply gone awry."
As broadcast network executives descend upon Manhattan this week to hawk their new programming wares to advertisers in the springtime ritual known as the upfronts, shows filled with music have gone achingly flat.
It is hardly the first time television has burned out a genre through mass imitation and overexposure. Networks rode Westerns into the ground. They exhausted the audience with singers trying variety shows. At one point, almost every night had a news magazine. And, most famously, ABC ran the sprockets off its game show hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, with four episodes a week at its height, leading to a precipitous plunge in ratings and its relegation into syndication.