Richard Rushfield covered the Idol beat for the Los Angeles Times for several years before leaving in a bit of a huff to work for more purely online outlets. In a piece at the Daily Beast, he reveals what he learned about Simon Cowell and behind-the-scenes dramas at "American Idol." Sample:
Cowell is walking away from what may be the most lucrative job in the history of television. His departure will mark the denouement of a collaboration that in the past decade has been at the very apex of entertainment—last season, an average of 26 million viewers watched American Idol. But somehow the working relationship between Cowell and the rest of the show’s machine has transformed from the close bond felt by a ragtag band of brothers storming the gates of show business into a marriage of convenience fraught with bitterness.
For years now, even as the show has continued to dominate the television landscape, life on the set was constantly tested by the love/hate battle that raged between American Idol’s creator (Simon Fuller) and its iconic star (Cowell)–a symbiotic relationship with stakes so high, few dared to imagine its end.
Backstage—as young singers fought to the death—a war smoldered.
It's a nice deep catch-up for those who, like me, who don't watch or pay much attention to the show. Meanwhile, Rushfield's replacement at the LAT's Idol blog, Shirley Halperin, didn't even try to match him. Her one paragraph on Cowell leaving begins: "We here at Idol Tracker are still processing the news of just an hour ago..."