Some people truly love a challenge. When FremantleMedia named Trish Kinane the President of Entertainment Programming, North America in July 2012, the Brit reality veteran not only took over executive producer duties on Fox’s American Idol but also The X Factor and NBC’s America’s Got Talent. In short, mega-properties each. Since then Idol has gone through a number of changes, Simon Cowell’s X Factor has closed up shop in the U.S., and AGT has come back this season solid. Formerly Fremantle’s president of worldwide entertainment and based in the UK, Kinane comes from both the indie and network world with tenure at Action Time and Channel 4. The EP of two of the heavyweights of reality TV believes Idol took a hit from the Winter Olympics on NBC, that honestly is the best policy for judges, and that tech made Idol possible. She also has something new cooking, maybe the next big thing.
DEADLINE: Last year at a speech at NAB, you spoke of Idol as being the gold-standard show in terms of format and how the series was one of the first to adapt interactivity with viewers since it debuted in the summer of 2002. A lot has changed since Idol premiered.
TRISH KINANE: I think Idol is the, sort of, classic gold-standard format, in terms of these music shows, and I still do. It’s the simple story, it’s the simple transition of a kid from nowhere who comes through the process, and ends up, hopefully, not always, but often, in the case of Idol, having a career. Having said that, you know, you’ve got to do things, you’ve got to keep it fresh, you’ve got to try to keep it relevant. Last year, there were problems with the panel, which I think were fairly public, so we put a new panel in place. The panel for the last season has been incredibly successful. We wanted people who knew what they were talking about, people who had a right to be there, people who could offer genuine advice to these kids, people who really cared about these kids, and I think in Harry, Keith, and Jennifer, we’ve absolutely got that.
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