NBC milks “America’s Got Talent” for all it can

By Tom Comi

We realize it’s been a long time since NBC ruled the ratings, so you’d have to expect executives at the struggling network to be a little giddy when they actually land a hit show. But enough already with trying to squeeze every bit of money it can out of America’s Got Talent.

There is no disputing that the show is entertaining, but does each season really need to run this long? Seriously, it’s not like it’s American Idol. Do you realize the first televised auditions aired on May 31, and we have yet to reach the semifinals? Viewers — and I do consider myself a fan — watched faithfully as contestants from around the country advanced from their respective audition cities to Las Vegas. From there, the top 48 acts moved on to Hollywood.

This is where the the real competition supposedly began, because we got to see what we thought were four straight weeks of the show’s top talent. Twelve contestants performed every week, and the top four of each group would advanced to the semis. Didn’t quite work out that way.

Apparently not content with just 16 semifinalists — or the money it had made to that point — NBC added another round of YouTube contestants. And as was the case last year, they unfairly advanced to Hollywood and only had to appear once before four acts were voted into the aforementioned 16.

So now we’re all set with 20 semifinalists, right? Wrong. Wanting to look a gift horse directly in the mouth, America’s Got Talent is bringing back 12 acts tonight (9pm ET) that were already voted off the show (the decision on who returned was made by judges Piers Morgan, Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne). While some could justifiably argue that this is a way to give second chances to some very good performers, it’s tough to give the benefit of the doubt to a show that has blatantly milked this cow dry (don’t get me started on the countless re-airings every week).

At some point, you have to question when the broadcast networks are going to realize they are running some really good non-scripted shows into the ground. Does anybody not remember Who Wants to be a Millionaire? How about The Weakest Link? And surely Howie Mandel can explain to the folks at NBC how they already killed his previous show Deal or No Deal with over-saturation.

My family loves sitting down every week to watch America’s Got Talent, but there has to some point when enough is enough. Here’s hoping a winner is declared before NBC starts airing the auditions for next season.


Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

1 Comment

  1. America’s/Britain’s/ …. got talent series is a “cheap” show to gain lots of money. The contestants are not paid, however, the producers CASH in granduiously.
    Not only that, people who audition MUST sign a contract… in it is stated, going to the auditions doesn’t promise you’ll get on the show (TV). Further more, by auditioning, you are forfeiting the RIGHTS to your own act. Whatever act YOU perform, will become THEIR property. To top it off, they have the right to exploit this with any existing means and the communcation means to come.

    In other words, THEY will own YOUR act, if they don’t like you or your face, they can say no to you, and put someone else in the show of THEIR choosing.

    This year’s season saw several acts going straight to Vegas during the “Vegas Rounds”. Checking online, reveals those acts are already acts which have years of experience. More and more producers are contacting pro’s to appear in their show.

    I wonder : next to passing before everybody else (without having to wait for hours to auditions) do they still have to sign that contract ?

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