‘American Idol’ Debuts With a Thud — Premiere Sees Its Biggest Ratings Drop Ever

Jan 19, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Fox’s season 11 premiere of “American Idol” saw the singing competition endure a significant drop in the ratings from the year-ago debut episode — down 24%, the biggest dropoff in series history, Entertainment Weekly reports.

“Idol” pulled in a 7.4 rating in the 18-49 demo after time zone adjustments, TVbytheNumbers.com reports, off 24% from the 9.8 for the Wednesday opener a year ago. Total viewers were down 16%, from 26.2 million a year ago to 21.9 million.

Still, Fox got more than enough out of “Idol” to win Wednesday night in the prime-time ratings, as the “Idol” debut helped push down viewer numbers for the other networks.

For prime-time overall, Fox notched an easy win with a 7.2 rating in 18-49 (before time zone adjustments) to 3.0 for ABC, 2.5 for CBS and 1.5 for NBC. Fox also had a huge margin in total viewers, averaging 21.6 million to 11.2 million for CBS, 8.1 million for ABC and 5.7 million for NBC.

ABC’s “The Middle” equaled its season low with a 2.6 in 18-49, down 10% from last week, while “Suburgatory” also matched its season low with a 2.5, down 14%, and “Modern Family” was yet another ABC show to match its season low, falling 2% to a 5.0.

At NBC, “Whitney” was down 20% from a week earlier to a series low 1.6 in adults 18-49, “Are You There, Chelsea?” was off 22% to a 1.8, “Harry’s Law” equaled a series low with a 1.1, down 8%, and “Law & Order: SVU” reached a series low with a 1.8, down 10%.

CBS wasn’t immune from the trend, with “Criminal Minds” down 6% to a season low 3.2 in 18-49 and “CSI” falling 3% to a 2.8.

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