Just like the wannabe pop stars on the show, "American Idol" advertisers don't believe there's such a thing as too much exposure.
The show is already thick with ads and product placements, but a bunch of companies hawking everything from ice cream to video games are eager to build "Idol" marketing tie-ins this season.
In addition to returning sponsors Cingular, Coke and Ford, which pay millions to have their products featured in the actual show, the producers have managed to make way off-air for new names.
A handful of big brands will pay to use the "Idol" name in their own marketing campaigns as part of a new "official sponsor" program.
Dreyer's will become the official ice cream of "Idol," while Nestle will be the official candy. Four more companies will be announced in the next few months.
Executives at Fremantle Media, which co-produces the show along with creator Simon Fuller and his 19 Entertainment, have also ramped up the show's licensing.
At last count 45 companies had deals to churn out "Idol" merchandise, up from 30 last year. This includes party goods, Halloween costumes, computer software, karaoke machines and guitars.
Fremantle is also in discussions with an undisclosed theme-park operator to build "Idol" rides and attractions. All this comes on top of the "Idol" tour that played in 60 cities last year.
The producers concede there is always the risk of overexposure. It's one reason why they resisted the temptation to air two cycles of "Idol" in a year. In keeping with the norm, "Idol" will debut Tuesday and end in May.
"We've increased the number of episodes, but we're at the point where we can't do any more with oversaturating," said Keith Hindle, Fremantle's head of marketing in North America.
The glut of ad and licensing deals comes as TV's top show heads into its sixth season. After five years of skyrocketing ratings, the industry is wondering if the program is past its viewing prime.
"At some point it has to plateau or drop a little," said Brad Adgate, director of research at New York ad-buying firm Horizon Media. "[But] I still think it will be the top-rated show on television."
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