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Fredric M. Bronson (born January 10, 1949) is an American journalist, author and writer. He is best known for his appearances on American Idol, the weekly "Chart Beat" column in Billboard magazine, and as the author of books related to Billboard charts.
Born to Irving and Mildred Bronson and raised in Culver City, California, Bronson showed an early aptitude for gauging the popularity of artists and songs. At age 11, Bronson won a contest in the Los Angeles Mirror-News requiring him to select favorites in several music categories. His prize was a lunch with actress Connie Stevens. As Bronson later wrote, "I realized that keeping track of records and artists wasn't such a bad idea." That wasn't the first brush with show business for Bronson. When he was five, he was selected to portray actor/writer/producer Jack Webb as a child in a series of photographs in the May 1954 issue of Cosmopolitan.
One of Bronson's earliest published works was in the first letters column of The Amazing Spider-Man, in issue 3 published in 1962. A follow-up letter was printed in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 608, published 47 years later. His letters were also published on a regular basis in issues of Superman, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, The Flash and other DC Comics publications.
From 1971 to 1982, he was a publicist for NBC-TV, based in Burbank, California. Bronson handled publicity for a number of TV series, including "Sanford and Son", "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century", "B. J. and the Bear", "Man from Atlantis", "The Bionic Woman", "Police Story", "Police Woman", "Bonanza", "Quark", "Joe and Valerie", "Voyagers!" and "The Powers of Matthew Star", as well as "Hollywood Squares", "The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder" and the Bob Hope specials.
Bronson's regular "Chart Beat" column appeared weekly in Billboard magazine from January 1993, when he took over from Paul Grein who originated the column in March 1981, until April 2005, when it was transferred completely to Billboard.com. The online "Chart Beat Chat" column appeared at Billboard.com from April 1996 until March 5, 2009. Both dealt with notable activity on the Billboard charts including the Hot 100 for songs and Billboard 200 for albums. His new Billboard column, This Week In Billboard History, launched on the www.billboard.biz website on Dec. 6, 2011. He is the author of several chart related books, including Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, and The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. With Dick Clark, he authored Dick Clark's American Bandstand. His newest book, due for publication in April 2012, is The Sound Of Music Family Scrapbook, the story of the seven actors who played the von Trapp children in the beloved 1965 movie. Bronson also co-created the syndicated comic strip Dick Clark's Rock, Roll and Remember in 1995 with Dick Clark and Don Sherwood.
Bronson has written for numerous award shows including both the World Music Awards and American Music Awards. He has also appeared as a repertoire expert four times on American Idol, during seasons two, four, seven and nine. He was seen on 11 Mar 2008 discussing the oeuvre of Lennon–McCartney and on 23 Mar 2010 talking about the history of Billboard magazine and the Hot 100. He was identified as "Author, Billboard Books." As in episodes from seasons two and four, his Number One Hits book was the exclusive basis of repertoire selection. His book also served as source material for the first episode of CMT's series, "CMT's Next Superstar," executive produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Lythgoe. Bronson appeared on the first episode as a guest judge, along with Kristin Chenoweth and permanent judge Matt Serletic. The series premiered on April 8, 2011, the eighth anniversary of Bronson's first appearance on American Idol.
Bronson's musical preferences can be heard on his own music program Pop Goes the World and the online radio station Radio Fred Bronson. For seven years, he wrote "The Billboard Radio Countdown," a weekly webcast hosted by Billboard magazine's Chuck Taylor.
Bronson is also the co-writer on two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Game" and "Ménage à Troi". He also wrote one episode of the Star Trek: The Animated Series, "The Counter-Clock Incident", under the name John Culver.
His other writing credits for television include two-hour tributes to Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, and the superstar women of country music (including Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba, the Judds, Loretta Lynn and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland) on "Girls' Night Out" for CBS, a Lionel Richie special that aired in April 2012, a Motown 45th anniversary special, the original Live Aid, and a disco music special for ABC as well as the annual "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ran Seacrest," also for ABC. Bronson was head writer on NBC's January 2005 telethon to raise funds for victims of the December 2004 tsunami in South East Asia.
On March 5, 2009, Bronson announced in his weekly Chart Beat column that this was his last Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat. In August 2009, he wrote his first articles for the Los Angeles Times. The latimes.com website posted his interviews with American Idol finalists Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta. In 2011, Bronson began writing for Billboard again on a regular basis. His articles appear on the Billboard.biz website. He also writes for The Hollywood Reporter's Idol Worship section.
Bronson has also done interviews for Sirius XM including Paul McCartney, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and Ulf Ekberg from Ace of Base. Bronson also announced that he would be a guest on Jon Peter Lewis' internet TV series, “American Nobody.” Episode 4 in March 2009. He returned as a guest on the episode of "American Nobody" posted Feb. 20, 2010. In 2010 he also filled in as guest host for JPL.
Bronson was a member of the international jury of Melodifestivalen 2009, national preselection event to choose the Swedish representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. He had previously been one of the international judges for the national final in Malta in 1998, which resulted in Chiara representing Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest with "The One That I Love."
In 2010, Bronson began reporting on previous American Idol contestants for a new free app for the iPhone and iPod touch, IdolsNow. In August 2012, Bronson began writing a weekly column for The Hollywood Reporter: "American Idol on the Charts."
- Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, No. 3, also referenced in Amazing Spider-Man No. 600 and No. 608
- Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1.[page needed]