×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

Ratings for Post-Simon 'Idol' Sag, but Show Is Still Biggest on TV

Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez Debut to Favorable Reviews, if Fewer 18-to-49s

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Fox's "American Idol" remains a giant -- though it's standing less tall than it has in the past.

New 'American Idol' judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez
New 'American Idol' judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez Credit: Fox
The juggernaut search-for-a-singing-champ show saw total live-plus-same-day viewers fall 13% in its 10th-season debut last night, to about 26.1 million from approximately 29.9 million last year. On a live basis, however, viewership seemed flat, according to data from Nielsen.

Of greater concern for Fox, perhaps, is the drop-off last night's debut saw in terms of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 -- the demographic advertisers covet most. Last night's telecast saw an approximately 18% decline in that category.

Keep in mind: Most networks would be happy to have 26 million people tune in to a single telecast, and there's no doubt that "American Idol" remains TV's most-watched show (and, as a result, the most expensive program on TV for advertisers).

Still, the show is aging and last night's debut marked one of its lowest-rated in some time. Viewing for "American Idol" peaked during season five in 2006, with 30.3 million viewers -- the last time any regularly scheduled show averaged over 30 million viewers per telecast, according to Brad Adgate, senior VP-research at independent Horizon Media. Audience levels have declined annually since season six.

Fox has some reason to cheer: Despite the absence of Simon Cowell, more than 25 million people tuned in, and TV reviews of new judges -- Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez -- have been favorable.

"Idol's" true levels this season won't be known for some time. For one thing, Fox has shifted its second episode to Thursdays, a much more competitive night than Wednesdays. For another, "Idol's" true buzz won't emerge until some of the contestants become better known and generate followings of their own.

Most Popular
In this article: