I knew "American Idol" was big, but I guess I didn't realize how big until I read that the show is worth at least $2.5 billion in ad money, tours, merchandise, and other ventures. And it's going to get even bigger this season, when the show starts streaming full episodes online.
Advertising Age says "Idol" has nabbed McDonald's and MasterCard as advertisers for the Web version of the show, which will air after the TV broadcast on the official AI site. I wonder if people who miss the TV broadcast will be able to catch the performances online before voting is over?
The Ad Age story also reveals several other ventures that will make "Idol," which premieres Jan. 16, virtually inescapable — from a Sims-style game to chocolate bars and ice cream. Yikes! Then again, after Entertainment Weekly suggested the contestants could meet an ex-Beatle, I'm almost excited for another season of Simon, Seacrest, and the gang. You?