Message to Drudge: No Investigation

May 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Internet gossip Drudge reported last week that Fox was launching an investigation into the voting on American Idol that resulted in Ruben Studdard’s taking the top prize by a slim 130,000 votes out of about a 100 million cast (50.28 million vs. 49.72 million). In reality, no one is looking into anything. “Let me be very clear: There is no internal review, there is no investigation,” said a Fox spokesman. The flap was a result of host Ryan Seacrest’s quoting two different figures on air at different times, which Fox said was simply “human error.” The real industry news was that Fox’s hit put text-messaging on the map. The show was “the largest text-messaging event in U.S. history” according to AT&T Wireless. Idol fans sent a record 2.5 million messages after the May 20 episode. Text messaging, a k a SMS (short messaging service ), a k a “texting” (as the kids say) has been widely available for about a year. When customers vote via cell phone, it costs about 10 cents a pop. Though the show encourages serial voting, AT&T representatives say Idol producers do not receive a percentage of the charges. Maybe they should.