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March 21, 2014
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Once a guaranteed ticket to showbiz, Fox's American Idol has hit a very low note. The "one-time ratings juggernaut," as the New York Times describes it, is registering its lowest ratings ever this year. Last night, just 8.4 million viewers tuned in, giving the show a dismal 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demographic — a "psychological blow to the series" that once regularly brought in double-digit ratings.

Fox revamped the singing talent show this year by bringing in a new set of judges, a different production company, and a shiny new set to reverse its steadily declining ratings, but so far, those changes haven't helped. So, why is a show that produced singing stars like Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood not resonating anymore? Blame the competition:

The precipitous drop has been driven by several factors, one being a literal factor: the show The X-Factor, the short-lived similar singing competition Fox tried three season ago, which succeeded only in diluting the appeal of Idol. (X-Factor has now been canceled.)

Read the rest of the analysis at the New York Times. Jordan Valinsky

10:08 a.m. ET

If you've recently committed a felony and are now on the lam, here's a tip: Beware of rare Pokémon, as they might a trap.

At least, they might be in Smithfield, Virginia, where the local police department is attempting to lure people with outstanding arrest warrants to the police station using Pokémon Go. So far, none have been lured.

The specific monster the Smithfield PD say is in their processing room, Ditto, is presently the subject of intense speculation, as no verified Ditto captures have yet occurred and some believe Ditto is actually uncatchable at this time. Bonnie Kristian

9:52 a.m. ET
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A police officer named Michael Kelley from Prairie View, Texas — the small town where Sandra Bland died under disputed circumstances — says he was forced to suppress evidence of departmental wrongdoing pertaining to Bland's death.

By Kelley's account, the top Waller County prosecutor refused to let him testify before a grand jury to share observations Kelley believes could have helped produce an indictment. In a recorded phone conversation, Kelley describes threats of retaliation including loss of his career should he speak out about having observed marks on Bland's forehead after the traffic stop as well as debates among fellow officers about how to charge Bland after she had already been arrested.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis categorically denied all Kelley's allegations. When the grand jury deliberations concluded in December of 2015, no one was indicted in connection with Bland's death. Meanwhile, Kelley himself is now suspended from the police department after he was caught on camera using a stun gun on a local city official who, like Bland, was African-American. Bonnie Kristian

9:45 a.m. ET

Not only have the Democrats squashed the Republicans in TV ratings, it looks like they've just taken the lead on Instagram, too. This photo, from the Democratic convention, is not just Clinton's most-liked Instagram picture of all time, but the most-liked photograph of all of the candidates in the entire 2016 presidential race:

We love you back, President Obama.

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

It's easy to see why. Awwww. Jeva Lange

9:42 a.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton got massive applause Thursday night at the Democratic convention when she said this about her election rival, Donald Trump: "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Naturally, Trump responded Friday morning via Twitter by slamming Clinton's speech, claiming, "Crooked Hillary Clinton made up facts about me, and 'forgot' to mention the many problems of our country, in her very average scream!"

The Democratic convention's TV ratings were higher across the board than the viewership for the Republican gathering last week — sometimes by several million people — which prompted Trump on Thursday to implore his supporters not to watch Clinton's nomination acceptance speech. Jeva Lange

8:36 a.m. ET
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Animal behavior specialists are bewildered by an incident at the Zoological Garden of Rabat, in Morocco, in which a female elephant picked up a stone and threw it at the crowd, striking and killing a 7-year-old girl.

"The behavior … of any animal is very complex and wild animals are unpredictable," said Abderahim Salhi, the zoo's veterinarian. "We are all surprised. We don't yet understand."

The elephant threw the stone, which was about half the size of a brick, more than 33 feet, over a ditch and a wooden barrier; it struck the girl in the head. "In my opinion, it's unlikely the elephant was directly targeting the girl but exhibiting frustration," Phyllis Lee, the scientific director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told the BBC.

The Rabat zoo defended its enclosure, which it said met the international standards, and called the incident "rare, unpredictable, and strange."

"We are very sad at what happened, but it would be wrong to blame the elephant. This was not premeditated," Salma Slimani, in charge of zoo administration, told The Associated Press. Jeva Lange

8:10 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton's historic nomination on Thursday night was somewhat bittersweet, as one can't help but wish that the thousands of women who fought to get America to this moment could have seen her on that stage. Luckily, Stephen Colbert owns a time machine and he used it to beam in Josephine Henley and Abitha Whitmore from the night of July 4, 1776.

Never mind the uncanny resemblance the female delegates have to Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer — Henley and Whitmore are pretty excited to hear the good news about Hillary Clinton. Well, that is until they realize they misheard Colbert say the date by 200 years.

The two have a pretty big scolding for America taking its sweet time to nominate a woman, and you can get a hilarious earful, below. Jeva Lange

8:06 a.m. ET
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One San Diego police officer was killed and another injured when a gunman opened fire on them late Thursday night. After the shooting, authorities urged people in the surrounding area to stay inside as police helicopters searched for a suspect. Police said they had one person in custody, although they did not immediately identify the suspect. Investigators also did not say what could have been the gunman's motive.

The city and others around the country have been on high alert since gunmen ambushed and killed police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Harold Maass

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