BusinessWeek checks in with Fox's phenomenon, "American Idol", and wonders if all the product placement is killing the golden goose. Three years ago, Idol scaled back its sponsors from five to three to limit ad clutter. But this year it added Apple, figuring it fit the show's demographic. Meanwhile, advertisers like Ford Motor, which on May 14 unveiled a sportier Focus in a weekly 45-second rock video, became omnipresent. It's a lot of plugs to get through. Idol showed 4,151 product placements in its first 38 episodes this year, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's up just 4% from '07, but the time on screen jumped nearly 19%, to a total of 545 minutes. And, oh yeah, ratings are slipping and its audience is aging.