This week’s CVTW is the godfather of TV talent shows, Simon Cowell.
Cowell made his bones as an A & R man in the notoriously unpleasant music industry, first at EMI and then later in a strong of his own labels of varying degrees of success. In the nineties he made some serious cash by successfully using other media, noticeably television tie-ins such as wrestling, Teletubbies and Power Rangers to produce hit records.
Kylie…mmmmm…. sorry went to a quiet place there.
Anyway, Simon has been there on the fringes of popular culture for a lot longer than most people realised when he shot to national fame as a member of the judging panel on Pop Idol. The idea was for an interactive talent show where the final judgement as to who won would be down to the voting public. The winner got signed to Cowell’s label.
Cowell’s cuttingly blunt critiques earned him a reputation as a villain but his success with this type of show (he was the producer on nearly all of these things) meant he also got something of a reputation for the Midas touch. He reportedly (and probably incorrectly) earns more than fifty million pounds a year. That’s over a one hundred million US.
In recent months the tarnishes have started to appear. His show Grease is the Word flopped, rightly suffering by comparison to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and the like. There was an embarrassing incident where he fired one of the other judges on X-Factor then had to take them back because the show didn’t work.
Oh yes, the tide may be turning on Mr Cowell, the telephone vote may not be in his favour. I can see it now…
Cowell’s latest project to produce a hit record for The Queen, following on from the success of her TV show Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, is a disastrous flop. The world is not quite ready for her cover of Hero.
A series of exposes with artists who have worked for him in the past reveals him to be just as tyrannical off-screen as on. The most damning comes from the Teletubbies who have checked into rehab due to drug induced paranoia – they keep hallucinating they’re George Bush. And then it’s revealed his pithy comebacks are actually written by Max Clifford (allegedly).
Simon is on the rocks. Then he makes his big mistake. He fires Sharon Osbourne from the next series of X-Factor. Sharon, already upset that Simon’s favourite this series was Dannii Minogue, is not a woman to scorn and she sets about her vengeance with the speed of a Klingon on smack.
When Simon receives the photos of himself and his signed photo of Danni Minogue in a compromising embrace, allegedly; he knows who sent it. His only real question is how she got into his dressing room.
Simon has been bankrupt before. He can’t do it again. Swift action is required. And so he springs into action. Ostensibly he rehires Sharon Osbourne to X-factor.
Simon’s bought himself time and a setting for the big finish now he just needs a means. Never short of ideas and ever up for the opportunity for a TV tie-in, Simon makes a call to The Priory.
It’s the day of the first auditions. The atmosphere is tense as Sharon and Simon are barely speaking, Danni is wondering why Simon’s asked for yet another laminated signed picture and Walsh is just confused.
The contestants are typically awful and cruelly dispatched by the judge’s wit. The final contestants come in to the room.
“You look awfully familiar,” says Sharon.
What Pinky Winky says is unrepeatable. The ‘Tubbies tea has been spiked and they think they’re on the trading floor, shrieking they leap at the judges.
Simon, hero like throws himself on top of Danni, holding her tight during the ensuing melee. Oddly they don’t go anywhere near him. Sharon and Walsh…well they manage to pick up most of the pieces.
And it’s all on camera.
Simon is home free. He’s a hero. The footage of him selflessly throwing himself on Danni is shown over and over again. X-factor is delayed but re-launches with new judges and a new concept – the losers get thrown to the Teletubbies for food.
All is well with the world.
Except he can’t get that bloody tune “Give the dog a bone” out of his head, at first he thought it was down to him thinking about Danni too much but then he caught that bloody detective whistling it. The one investigating The Tubby Day Massacre as it’s being referred to the world over.
And those cigars, eek! Does he not know what they’re doing to Simon’s youthful good looks and his toupee? Look here he comes again waving a phone bill in his hands.