It was just a little over a year ago when then-NBC president Kevin Reilly, obviously depressed by the prospect of helplessly enduring another winter TV season in which all of his network's midweek offerings would be vaporized by Fox's Nielsen Death Star (obviously not to be confused with Hollywood's other destruction-dealing edifice), when he allowed himself this once delusional-seeming ray of hope at the TCAs: "Not to be shitty about it, but maybe they'll have a bad run. Nothing burns that bright forever. Some day it will be uncool to watch American Idol."
Reilly, who memorably joined the Fox family following the Memorial Day Massacre, is now the one who gets to make his rivals cling to such crazy hopes as his weapon of mass primetime destruction lays waste to everything in its timeslot path, though he can't have been happy to discover that last night's Idol offering was the juggernaut's lowest-rated premiere in four years and down 11 percent from the 2007 debut. Still, that's barely a fart in the Nielsen hurricane considering that it (preliminarily) drew an average of 33.2 million freakshow-hungry viewers (we attribute any loss of eyeballs entirely to the network's misguided decision to hold back Paula Abdul from her critically acclaimed, nap-riddled What The Hell Is She On Today? promotional tour), and more than enough for Reilly to carry through on any potential, revenge-motivated plans to strike back at his Peacock usurper by scheduling a series of "American Idol Presents A Musical Fuck You To Ben Silverman" specials wherever the NBC perfect storm chooses to run his beloved new episodes of American Gladiators.