Meanwhile, up north, Canadian Idol is hammered by the economy...

Apparently, everyone's panicking over the economy. In this case, I'm thinking of the producers of Canadian Idol -- Canada's answer to American Idol, which by the way, was a spin-off of England's Pop Idol.

Canadian Idol is going off the air for 2009. Why? According to CTV (Canada TV)'s Susanne Boyce, president of Creative, Content and Channels, it's due to the economy. As she told The Canadian Press, "We're facing serious financial challenges... Ad revenues have taken a serious dive. We're looking at everything."

As a completely distant bystander, it sounds to me a little crazy. From what I've been reading, the show has been doing very well in Canada's television ratings. Last September, during the Season 6 finale, 1.37 million Canadians tuned in. Sure, ad revenues may be down, but why take down one of your top shows? It seems like a losing proposition from the get-go.

On the other hand, 3.1 million Canadians watched American Idol's finale last May. The American version's clearly more popular with Canadians, and as a Canadian columnist wrote in The Toronto Star, the producers of the show might be using the economy as an excuse for putting the series on hiatus. "Economic downturn, my butt," harrumphed Joel Rubinoff. "Anyone who turned in Canadian Idol this past season knows CTV's official reason... had less to do with diminished global currencies than the fact that the fractured reality franchise had bottomed out creatively in every possible way."

Which is something to consider. The economy may be pretty worrisome and even frightening at times, but chances are, there are plenty of businesses and individuals using it as an excuse or shield for not doing something that they they weren't going to do anyway.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).