(Las Vegas, 2013 NAB, April 9, 2013)
(This article ran first on Technorati.com)
FOX’s long-running television icon, American Idol was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame at yesterday’s NAB 2013 Television Luncheon.
Idol judge Randy Jackson and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe spoke with me for a few minutes backstage in the green room while they were waiting for the ceremonies to begin. I asked Nigel how production of the show has changed as social media has become more powerful and Randy spoke about how he stays inspired after all these years. They both agreed, they love music!
Here’s NAB’s video (via 13Keys) of the event: American Idol Inducted
Congrats American Idol here’s to many more years of entertaining television!
Transcript of the interview:
The following is the transcript of an interview conducted by Cirina Catania (Technorati and the Digital Production BuZZ) with Nigel Lythgoe and Randy Jackson of the hit show, “American Idol”
April 9, 2013 – backstage at the 2013 NAB Television Luncheon as “American Idol” was awaiting their induction into the NAB Television Hall of Fame
Cirina Catania (V.O.): The long running television icon, American Idol, was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2013 NAB Show TV Luncheon today. Judge Randy Jackson, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and Trish Kanane, who is the executive producer and president of entertainment programming for Freemantle of North America were all on hand for the event. I spent a few minutes with Nigel and Randy and I was curious about how the power of social media has changed the way they produce the show.
Nigel Lythgoe: Well, when we first came here people weren’t even texting. We were much further ahead in Europe than America was and it was a shock for us how it hadn’t caught on here, so we built that slowly and went through it and texting became the big thing to do and now, of course, we are looking at the 2nd Screen and we are trying to work out with an entirely different team how to make stuff for that second screen.
Cirina: Randy, how hard is it for you to keep up the excitement? What keeps you going every year?
Nigel: He is in it to win it!
Randy Jackson: Exactly! I am in it to win it. Listen, I think music is the heart and soul of what I do. It is what I’ve done all my life. This is a music show first and foremost. I love discovering talent. I did that as an A&R guy for 15 years. It is what I do. It is where I live. I live in the music zone. I just signed two funk bands that will take you back to the 70’s. One that will remind you of Credence, the other will remind you of Tower of Power. You know, I love new talent. I love music, so it provides me with a great outlet and an outreach to what I do.
Nigel: And Randy is probably one of the best ambassadors of music in the world. Everybody knows him. Everybody love him and I haven’t seen him enter a room anywhere without people going, “Yo, Randy!”
Randy (laughs): “Yo, dawn! What’s the deal?! Yea!”
Cirina: What are you most proud of today with this award?
Randy: I am just most proud of being recognized; you know what I mean, because we have been saying it all day long. We don’t set out to get awards or accolades, but it is really nice for people to see what we are doing and what we continue to try and do and, you know, give us props for it, so I love that.
Cirina: Thank you so much, Randy, you are an inspiration to many people.
Randy: You are very welcome. Thank you.
Cirina: There is a lot of pressure to produce the wrap-arounds behind the scenes while you are still shooting live. Can you talk about how difficult it is for you to be on camera, worrying about the production and managing everything from several different chairs?
Nigel: Yea, I bump into cameramen and sound guys now that, where are you from, what are you doing. “Oh we’re doing the wrap-arounds, we’re doing the live hit during the commercial break. Oh we’re doing…” So it is really quite fun to see everything going on. You worry now. You worry that the artists, these young kids that have been, possibly abused in the critique come off stage and start swearing because they don’t know a camera is there. And I’m sure with us being a family show; we don’t really want anything going out there. Especially if there is nobody on the beat button. We’ve got enough problems with Nicki Minaj! (laughing) So, it really is trying to keep a handle on everything and I think it is just, for me, it’s a really exciting time because being able to think of other ways that your audience can interact with each other as well as the program is very exciting. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to buy into the artists at the end of the day. You know, we at our height, were getting, like I think a hundred and thirty million votes. Nobody sold 130 million albums yet, so it doesn’t translate into supporting the artist when it comes to putting your hand in your pocket, but the more that they can interact with the television program, then hopefully, our ratings will stay up there.
Cirina: Thank you so much for doing this. We’ve been watching. I love the way that you are changing the show up to keep it fresh.
Nigel: Trying, we’re trying. At the same time, you know, the music is really difficult. We’ve done something like 200 new songs that have been recorded in the last year or two years, and yet when it comes to the genres, we need these big, you know, rock, Motown, Beatles, we need these, and everyone goes, “Oh, it’s so boring, you know you are doing the same.” But that music is just incredible and I keep saying, it’s about the singers. It is not about the music. It is not about the judges. It is about the talent. Judge that!
Cirina: Thank you, Nigel.
Nigel: Thank you very much.
Cirina (v.o.): You’ve been listening to our backstage chat as American Idol is inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. That was Idol’s judge, Randy Jackson with the executive producer, Nigel Lithgoe. I’m Cirina Catania reporting to you live from the 2013 NAB Show for the Digital Production BuZZ.