"American Idol"—TV's undisputed ratings champ with its biggest competitors sidelined by the writers strike—is setting records for ad prices. "It's the biggest thing in a landscape where there aren't as many big things as there used to be,'' an ad buyer tells Bloomberg. The price of a 30-second spot bought now rather than in advance tops $900,000.
Even before the strike, "Idol" was on its way to charging record prices. With both "Idol" and the Super Bowl on its schedule, Fox is widely expected to overtake competing networks in the weekly ratings earlier than in the past and ride them to a more convincing victory. "We expect to win the broadcast market by a wider margin this year," says the News Corp. president.