‘Idol’ threat: TV talent show says Ridge competition stole its tune

‘Idol’ threat: TV talent show says Ridge competition stole its tune
File photo by Alice Proujansky

They’re hogging the spotlight!

In a desperate attempt to reverse plummeting ratings, “American Idol,” a network television talent show soon to become a pop-culture footnote, is seizing on the coattails of one of Bay Ridge’s most popular institutions — Brooklyn Senior Idol.

Lawyers for the Fox network show sent Senior Idol sponsor state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) a letter threatening legal action if he didn’t rename the beloved contest.

“While our client appreciates your enthusiasm for the American Idol and Idol brands, as a federal trademark owner, FremantleMedia cannot allow the unauthorized use of the Brooklyn Senior Idol Mark in connection with talent competition services,” the letter states, according to a press release from Golden’s office. “Cease using the Brooklyn Senior Idol Mark in connection with your talent competitions and remove … any advertisements, promotions, signs, or other material containing the Brooklyn Senior Idol mark.”

The move is laughable, according to last year’s Senior Idol winner.

“It’s a little ridiculous, but that’s the way people are — they have too much time on their hands,” said Senior Idol’s 2014 winner, Anthony Neve. “I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. This is not televised — this is for a charity.”

Senior Idol is an annual singing competition for older Brooklynites that raises money for Xaverian High School’s music program.

The other “Idol” — a 14-years-running network television show that has spun off international adaptations — couldn’t possibly be worried that Neilsen families in Iowa would ever confuse the show with Bay Ridge’s Senior Idol. That leaves only one explanation — the missive is a publicity stunt the show breathlessly sputtered out amid the din of its own labored death rattles.

The show’s ratings have declined since its second season and hit an all-time low during last year’s season finale.

Idol’s attorneys declined to comment or share a copy of the letter.

A local lawyer framed the conflict as one of biblical proportions and suggested Golden will come out the victor.

“Marty’s reputation will only increase as a result of this David-versus-Goliath type of situation,” said Ridge attorney Bob Howe. “In the long run, Goliath may not get slain, but he is going to get dinged up, and I think it’s going provide a lot of entertainment and give Marty a lot of fun.”

Indeed Golden is not standing by idle — the show will go on under a different name, he said.

“Brooklyn’s talented seniors will make you laugh, cry, and celebrate at the show regardless of what we call it,” Golden said in a statement.

He’s taking residents’ ideas for a new name. Perhaps a musical moniker that — without any apparent reference to the television show — is both patriotic and references a popular form of verse. Perhaps, “American Idyll.”

To suggest a name, contact Golden’s office at golde[email protected]enate.gov or (718) 238-6044.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeg[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
American idle: Lawyers for Ryan Secrest vehicle “American Idol” apparently have enough spare time to send cease-and-desist letters to the organizers of local charity talent shows such as Bay Ridge’s own Brooklyn Senior Idol.
Associated Press / Carlos Osorio