Can American Idol Ever Be Stopped?S

Short answer: No. Longer answer: Sorta. The New York Times ponders the important question today, as the singing competition show's ratings drop but its revenues continue to skyrocket.

They toss out horrifying figures, just to show how indestructible this Megalon truly is:

In the 2003-4 season, the first in which "Idol" was the top-rated prime-time series, its lead over the second place show was about 7 percent. That margin has grown every year since and this year is 66 percent.

Including revenue from "Idol" programming in other countries, from music sales related to all the "Idol" shows and from "So You Think You Can Dance," also on Fox, 19 Entertainment produced revenue of $223 million last year, up from $151 million two years earlier.

Worst of all:

"We have learned the lessons of the sports leagues in that they have all these ancillary revenue streams," said Robert F. X. Sillerman, chief executive of CKX Inc., the parent of 19 Entertainment. "And frankly, we're just beginning."

Aieeeee!!

The thing, though, that reporter Edward Wyatt might be overlooking is that when something begins to get so top heavy—when the core product beings to dwindle and the ancillary revenue star begins to burn dangerously white hot—it's usually an indication that the whole thing is soon to collapse terribly (terrifically?) on top of itself. (See: NBC) These sort of hollow beings may seem pretty looming, but they're mostly hot air. They're blowfish, basically.

Looking at the swirling menace from that angle, maybe there's light at the end of the shimmer-tunnel after all. And it's pink.