"American Idol," suffering a rapid loss of viewers, drew its smallest Wednesday audience in more than a decade, pulling down the total ratings for News Corp.'s Fox network.
"Idol," the once dominant singing show now in its 12th year, drew 13.1 million viewers last night, the fewest since August 2002, according to Nielsen data supplied by the networks. The audience of viewers ages 18 to 49, a group targeted by advertisers, was the smallest since July 2003.
"Idol" is proving to be a drag on Fox's ratings this season, with the network's audience down more than 22% in total viewers and the targeted demographic, the Nielsen data show. Together, the four largest networks are down 6.4% in total viewers and 9.4% in the age group.
For "Idol" alone, the ratings are down 18% in total viewers on Wednesdays and 15% on Thursdays, according to Nielsen data. Among the younger audience, the show has slid 16% on Wednesdays and 13% on Thursdays.
Even so, among broadcast networks, last night's show drew the biggest audience and the most viewers ages 18 to 49.