Fox’s “Idol” makes affiliates – and not Steve Jobs – richer

Finally, a digital deal that doesn’t screw TV stations. us-bartsimpsons-12.jpg

Over the last year, TV networks have raced to get out of the TV business and into the vaguely-defined “content” business. The thinking was that the interactive, on-demand aspects of the Web would be far more valuable than dumb antennae that do nothing but send out a one way signal to a set of obsolete rabbit ears.

Along the way, TV stations were asked to cheerfully “assume the position” as the scales begin to tip solidly (if slowly) in the direction of online entertainment.

So the now the news comes – online only, natch – via Variety.com that Fox will sell songs and video clips of the country’s most popular TV show, “American Idol” – just not on iTunes.

Of course, this isn’t out of the kindness of Fox Broadcasting’s heart; News Corp.’s Fox Television Stations Group is the largest in the land. Clearly, no one wants to see them go bankrupt in the next decade – at least, not while Rupert Murdoch still owns them.