There’s no denying the current season of FremantleMedia/19 Entertainment’s AI is a ratings juggernaut, scoring an average audience of 35 million per episode across the US. A lot of those viewers, it turns out, are kids. According to Nielsen data, the show’s two-part segment for the week of January 22 trounced all comers, ranking number-one across the entire spectrum of kid demos. So this year at Toy Fair, it wasn’t surprising to see the likes of Fisher-Price and Hasbro sporting AI licensed goods that might give toys based on typical kids IPs a run for their money.
First off, Monopoly: My American Idol Collectors Edition (US$39.99) from Hasbro’s games division sprinkles the familiar Boardwalk with stardust. Due out in March, players get to choose which of the 57 Idol contestants they’ll be as they race around the board. And instead of drawing cards from the Community Chest, they’ll have to select from the Judges Comments’ pile.
Meanwhile, later this year, Fisher-Price will be feeding the musical fantasies of the show’s youngest fans with I Can Play Piano and I Can Play Guitar software. The plug-and-play devices teach users how to play the instruments via an interactive TV interface.
And finally, KIDdesigns is creating a whole line of interactive electronic Tech 2 Go gadgets to keep the dream of perfect pitch alive. Sing Like an American Idol, for example, hooks up to an iPod and comes with actual Idol performances and judges’ comments. Rock on.