When attempting to incorporate live voting results, reality competition series have consistently run into a major issue: how can they account for the fact that west coast viewers are watching the show on tape-delay?
Over the next three weeks, “American Idol” will directly combat that situation.
According to ABC, the show will air live on both coasts beginning with the April 29 performance show (Top 10). Viewers from throughout the US will be able to watch — and vote — in real-time, thus allowing for a live results reveal at the end of the broadcast.
The episodes will air from 8-10PM ET, 7-9PM CT, 6-8PM MT and 5-7PM PT.
“We set out on a journey to find the best talent this nation has to offer,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. “As we head into the next phase of the ‘American Idol’ competition, it only makes sense to let every viewer from coast to coast experience the magic of live television and have the ability to vote for America’s next superstar.”
Granted, the live format does not create an apples-to-apples situation for viewers on both coasts. “Idol” will be airing in primetime for east coast viewers but mid-evening for west coast audience members.
Still, insofar as time zones do exist, this is the most practical way to include west coast viewers.