Here's a bit of conspiracy grist for the crazies' mill:
With ratings down this season, the head of 19 Entertainment's parent company said Fox is looking to contest the Nielsen ratings -- something Fox denied and Nielsen said it had no knowledge of. The top executive also said Thursday that he expects Fox to begin negotiating this summer an extension on its deal to carry "Idol," which has two years remaining.
Robert F.X. Sillerman, CEO of CKX, Inc., said a meeting between Fox and Nielsen is scheduled for Monday, or thereabouts, to deal with an issue he called "oxymoronic": "Idol" ratings have fallen, yet other indicators show that viewership is up.
Furthermore, he suggested that Fox has some grist in its argument, having identified a home with 14 people watching the show -- which it was not given proper ratings credit for.
"There's a meeting I understand on Monday between -- I believe it's Monday -- with Fox and Nielsen," Sillerman said on a call with investors. CKX owns 19 Entertainment, a co-producer on "Idol."
"It's oxymoronic," he added, "that (Nielsen is) reporting gross numbers of viewers (that are) down, yet all other measures -- like, for instance, the number of people who are voting -- are up."