Fox revved up over ‘Idol’s’ early success

Jan 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

It’s a new ballgame for Fox.
The network, which struggled to launch scripted series in a fall interrupted by baseball playoffs, hit a grand slam last week with the return of “American Idol.”
The debut episode of “American Idol” combined with half-hour special “American Idol: Revisited” last Tuesday gave Fox its highest-rated night ever among adults 18 to 49, adults 18 to 34 and total viewers, excluding sports broadcasts.
The 8 p.m.-to-9:30 p.m. (ET) premiere scored a 12.4 rating and 30 share among adults 18 to 49 and 25.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Among teens, the show pulled a 15.1 rating and a 40 share.
Fox handily won the night in adults 18 to 49 with a 12.1 rating and 29 share, a 246 percent advantage over second-place ABC.
Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman called the numbers “overwhelming” and said even the network was shocked at how well the show did. “Idol” outperformed last summer’s finale by 16 percent in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers. Ms. Berman said Fox has not ordered a third edition of “Idol” yet.
“American Idol” followed its Tuesday night smash debut with an equally impressive performance Wednesday night, retaining 95 percent of its adults 18 to 49 audience from its premiere episode. From 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. “Idol” scored an 11.8 rating and 28 share in adults 18 to 49 and 24.9 million viewers. “Idol” gave Fox its highest ratings ever (excluding sports) in the Wednesday 8:30 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot among adults 18 to 49 and total viewers.
Head to head, “Idol” beat ABC’s expanded 11/2-hour edition of “The Bachelorette,” which had been winning the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. slot, by a 97 percent rating advantage (11.8 vs. 6.0). “Idol” also beat “Bachelorette” in total viewers, 24.9 million vs. 13.4 million.
Ms. Berman said “Idol” gives Fox a great platform to launch its scripted midseason shows. Promos have already run for new sitcom “Oliver Beene” and will run for sitcoms “The Pitts” and “Wanda at Large.”