Skip to main content

'American Idol' owners plan Elvis Presley projects, show revamp

By Rolling Stone
May 31, 2012 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
A portrait of cultural icon Elvis Presley circa 1956.
A portrait of cultural icon Elvis Presley circa 1956.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Core Media Group is planning a possible drama series based on Elvis Presley
  • The company owns "American Idol"
  • Core is also planning a revamp of "Idol"

(Rolling Stone) -- The company that owns "American Idol" is restructuring in light of the show's ratings drop and developing projects for its other assets, including the creative exploitation of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, the New York Times reports.

CKx, which will change its name to Core Media Group, has especially big plans in store for Presley: an upgrade of the Graceland museum is in the works, as well as a possible drama series based on the singer's early life. Core is also in talks with Sony about a potential duets album, which would pair contemporary singers with Presley in much the same way that past duets albums have done with Frank Sinatra. A subsequent tour may see singers performing alongside an Elvis hologram.

Meanwhile, Core is also planning a revamp of "Idol," which comes on the tail of the show's 30% ratings decline in its 11th season this year. The drop coincides with the rise of newer singing competitions, like NBC's "The Voice" and Fox's "The X Factor."

"'Idol' is still the gold standard," Core's new president Marc Graboff told the Times. "It's very viable, but it definitely needs to be refreshed and it will be."

Could Jennifer Lopez leave 'Idol'?
Randy Jackson on 'Idol' judging style
Your 'American Idol' winner is ...

Graboff says the company will reteam with original "Idol" creator Simon Fuller to help make the changes, which include a likely overhaul of "Idol's" voting system. The current one has produced winners of a similar profile for five seasons straight, most recently 21-year-old Georgia rocker Phillip Phillips.

"They're being called W.G.W.G.'s -- white guys with guitars," said Graboff.

It's possible that the judges panel (currently Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson) will see a change, too, said Graboff -- but that decision falls under the purview of Fox, which broadcasts "Idol."

"We hope it will stay as big a revenue stream as it has been," said Graboff. "But no matter how big the stream is, my job is to diversify us away from it as much as possible."

See the full story at RollingStone.com.

Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT