'Idol' Rich: $26 Million for Show's Ads

Wanted: One or more advertisers to cough up a record $26 million for the second edition of Fox's American Idol.

Fox is seeking an "integrated marketing package" for American Idol, set to launch early next year, according to Advertising Age. 

The $26 million integrated pricetag would be the highest-ever for a reality show -- surpassing Survivor, in which nine sponsors spent $10 million to $12 million, according to Ad Age

"Integrated" is another buzzword for "brand saturation." In last summer's Idol, for instance, Ford spent big bucks to unabashedly promote its Ford Focus car in "skits" starring the Idol contestants. 

Coca-Cola did the same with pre-produced Idol packages and other elements incorporated into the show. 

Both Ford and Coke have signed for the second incarnation of Idol. Spokesmen for both companies told Ad Age they're still negotiating as to what they will spend in ad dollars (they spent "nowhere near" $26 million the first time around, according to Ad Age). 

In this case, the $26 million will buy 55 ad spots over the 15-week series -- and also licensing, product placement, Internet exposure and the designation "Official Sponsor of American Idol," according to Ad Age

Pepsi has expressed interest, and Fox would like to add a wireless telecommunications company to the mix, the magazine reported. 

American Idol never quite reached the viewership levels of Survivor, but it was last summer's top-rated new show -- and, more importantly, attracted the young demos craved by advertisers (young people spend more, or so the thinking goes). 

"Idol" will return with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. 

Co-host Ryan Seacrest will return (Brian Dunkleman was dropped), and there's been talk that perhaps Seacrest will co-host with one of the female Idol contestants booted from the first show (Ryan Starr? Tamyra Gray?). 

An Idol reunion show that aired last month from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas fared poorly in the ratings -- but winner Kelly Clarkson's first single shot to number one on the Billboard charts in record time.

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