'American Idol' Hits Premiere Low

Fox's Reality Singing Competition Bowed to 15 million Viewers

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Fox's "American Idol" returned on Wednesday to its worst premiere ratings in the history of the show.

'American Idol' returned to its smallest premiere audience yet
'American Idol' returned to its smallest premiere audience yet Credit: Fox

Despite the addition of new judge Harry Connick Jr. and the return of former judge Jennifer Lopez, season 13 of "Idol" bowed to 15.2 million viewers, a 15% drop from last season's premiere. It declined 22% in the 18-to-49 demographic that many advertisers prize.

But "Idol" did best its most recent finale, which drew just 14.3 million viewers, and didn't fall below NBC's "The Voice," whose most recent premiere drew 14.9 million viewers. "The Voice" outperformed in the 18-to-49 demo, however, by more than 10%.

To add further pressure to the aging series, AT&T cut its sponsorship of "Idol" after being the exclusive telecom sponsor since the show's inception. Ford and Coca-Cola have returned as sponsors.

Regardless of the continued ratings decline, "Idol" continues to be one of the highest-rated shows on broadcast, and the premiere is Fox's highest-rated entertainment program of the season.

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