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TV Guide and Fox Reality launch 'American Idol' companion shows


By Reality TV World staff, 03/14/2006 

As first disclosed in last year's announcement that Fox had renewed American Idol for at least three more seasons, TV Guide Channel and the Fox Reality network will premiere their new American Idol companion series as part of this week's start of the show's fifth season finals.

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Described as "shoulder programming" American Idol producer 19 Entertainment's November SEC filing that detailed the financial terms of Idol's renewal agreement, the two shows will consist of American Idol pre-show (TV Guide) and post-show (Fox Reality) programs.

Dubbed Idol Tonight, TV Guide's program will premiere tonight at 7PM ET/PT and lead-in to Fox's 8PM broadcast of American Idol's first finalists performance show. Hosted by former American Idol 2 finalist Kimberly Caldwell and Popstars contestant Rosanna Tavarez and broadcast live from the Television City studios in which American Idol films, Idol Tonight will feature "an exclusive live pre-show and red carpet event that will take viewers to all the festivities that precede each American Idol competition."

Idol Tonight will air before every Tuesday's American Idol performance show, with TV Guide Channel also repeating the show at 10PM and midnight on Tuesdays and 1PM and 6PM on Wednesdays (although TV Guide's publicly traded Gemstar parent is its own publicly traded company, Fox parent Newscorp is Gemstar's biggest stockholder, thus the cozy relationship between the two media companies.)

After tomorrow night's live results show airs on Fox, Fox Reality will premiere American Idol Extra on Thursday. Pre-taped and produced by Idol producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia, American Idol Extra will "reveal the backstage drama of what really happens on American Idol after the weekly vote-off show on Fox." Unlike TV Guide, the fledgling Fox Reality network isn't ashamed to admit its going to try and milk its Idol connection for all it can, announcing simply that Extra will air at 6:30PM ET/PT and 10:30PM ET/PT and "repeat numerous times throughout the week."

According to Fox Reality, the week's American Idol Extra episode will interview that week's eliminated contestant, take a look back at their Idol journey, allow viewers to "see the intimate and emotional back stage reactions following a contestant being voted off," and also feature "other tantalizing peeks behind the curtain."


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