- - Monday, July 23, 2012

Fox says Mariah Carey is joining “American Idol” as a new judge.

The network’s entertainment chief, Kevin Reilly, announced her signing to a meeting of the Television Critics Association on Monday, and then put Ms. Carey on speaker phone to confirm the deal.

“I am so excited to be joining ‘American Idol,’ ” she said. “This kind of all just happened really quickly.”

Earlier this month, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez said they were leaving “American Idol” after two years as judges.

Ms. Carey had been courted by “Idol,” and as one of music’s best-selling singers she could bring the star power it needs to compete with rivals like “The X Factor,” which recently added Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges.

Patrick Stewart (AP photo)
Patrick Stewart (AP photo) more >

Earlier Monday, veteran “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said there’s a slender possibility that Ms. Lopez might return. His reasoning: Since she told “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest she was 99 percent sure she was leaving, that means there’s a 1 percent chance she won’t, Mr. Lythgoe said Monday.

Customized Facebook video promotes Starz’ ‘Boss’

Premium TV service Starz Entertainment is launching a personalized video experience via Facebook Connect to promote the second season of “Boss.”

The online offer, called “Price for Power,” is designed to give people a look inside the world of protagonist Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) without the need for any knowledge of politics or the show, which returns Aug. 17.

Once users allow “Price for Power” to tap into data from their Facebook profile, it provides a video customized with photos and other information from the user’s profile on the social network. No matter how often a user watches, a somewhat different video is offered due to a range of customization and randomization options.

The experience wants to “invite users into a Machiavellian world where you are the political elite, have the clout to change lives (for the better or worse) and rule over a political machine that rewards those with power and control,” a Starz statement said. “Your personal Facebook information is transposed securely and populated into a virtual universe akin to that of Mayor Kane.”

Users can, among other things, see their own campaign advertisements on display, friends disappear from their virtual Facebook page and family question the person they have become.

“The allure and corruptibility of political power was the perfect backdrop to ‘Price for Power’ and a virtual experience like no other,” said Kelly Bumann, senior vice president of digital marketing for Starz Entertainment. “The Facebook Connect technology platform provides a seamless vehicle for you to see what life could be like if you were the one in control and the ramifications that could ripple through your social network as a result.”

While other media companies have used similar tools before, “the amount of personalization we are offering is pretty unrivaled,” Ms. Bumann said.

Why is this the right way to help promote “Boss”? Said Ms. Bumann: ” ‘Boss’ is much less a show about politics and much more about the incredible allure of power and the methods those with it will sometimes use to preserve it. ‘Price for Power’ gives you a taste of this virtual social media reality.”

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