Ratings: Idol Premiere Takes Biggest Drop Yet

The arrival of American Idol‘s much anticipated Season 10 drew 26.2 million total viewers, soundly crushing all comers. (Read Michael Slezak’s recap here.) A mighty haul, it nonetheless represents the hit reality series’ biggest slide between seasons (down 13 percent).

Similarly, Idol‘s 9.7 rating in the 18-to-49 demo marks the show’s lowest-rated premiere since its summer 2002 birth.

That said, Fox notes that Idol‘s opener A) was up 18 percent from the Season 9 finale, and B) bested its combined four network rivals by 47 percent in the demos. Zounds.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night:

* Despite taking a hit from Idol, ABC’s The Middle (8.73 million viewers) and Better With You (6.83 mil) combined for a solid second place in the 8 o’clock hour. Idol alum Paula Abdul’s Live To Dance showed its least amount of life yet, netting just 5.32 million viewers and a fourth-place worthy 1.0 rating.

* Now airing Wednesdays at 9, NBC’s Chase returned to an audience of 4.34 million, down 14 percent from its last Monday outing, while its 1.0 rating was off a full third.

* CBS’s Blue Bloods dominated the 10 o’clock hour in total viewers (12.18 million viewers) but placed third in the demos (with a mere 2.0). SVU drew 6.9 mil/2.2, while ABC’s Off The Map did 5.84 mil/2.1 in its second week.

What did you watch on Wednesday night? And do you expect Idol‘s numbers to improve given the largely positive reviews being received by newcomers Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. B says:

    ABC must be devastated that Off the Map ratings dropped 75% since they claim 22 million watched the first episode during the promos last night.

  2. John Berggren says:

    What I like best about Live to Dance is it’s positivity. That said, it seems like that might be coming to Idol with the new judging panel. I’ll be ok if it doesn’t last.

    My biggest problem with the show is how it is blazing through contestants. Reducing from a top 18 to a top 6 in 3 weeks is too aggressive for a show like this. It’s almost like CBS didn’t trust the show (which the ratings back up) – but I think a better plan would have been to start with a solid top 10, and only remove one contestant/team a week.

  3. isolde says:

    YES! Maybe this is FINALLY the beginning of the end of this awful, awful pox on the face of television. Here’s to hoping the rest of “reality” tv will follow.

    • Gusar says:

      AI is still a total ratings monster. And will remain so even if the demo rating drops by a point or three. So any kind of thoughts about the end of this show are waaaaaaaaay premature.

    • John Berggren says:

      I don’t know that the reality TV trend has been all that bad. I was terrified that we’d never see scripted drama or comedy and all the networks would default to reality – but since the dawn of reality TV we’ve been granted an embarrassment of riches when it comes to scripted fare.

      I’d much rather that broadcast sports go away and be relegated to an “ALT” network feed. It is the bane of my existance for sports shows to interrupt or delay programming that I actually want to watch.
      At least AI and Survivor, etc tend to adhere to a schedule.

  4. Nick says:

    Well I wouldn’t exactly call 26 million viewers a failure in any sense. I don’t think there is any other show on TV that gets that kind of ratings… so although it may have dropped… haven’t all show ratings been dropping lately?

  5. Josie says:

    These are still FANTASTIC ratings, let’s be real here lol. In today’s TV ratings world a 9.7 demo and 26.1m viewers is almost unheard of unless it involves football.

  6. Buddy says:

    I’m not usually one to promote hasty rescheduling, but ABC should seriously consider moving Off the Map. It’s Thursday encore did almost as well as its Wednesday premiere last week. I think that says something about the way it fits (or doesn’t) into ABC’s Wednesday programming flow. Where to put it is the tricky part. Why not bump Brothers & Sisters for a few weeks and see if Off the Map can carry over a bigger quotient of Desperate Housewives’ strongly female audience?

  7. Jake says:

    AI is past the good years…I loved it for the first 4 or so years, but now, it’s annoying…Time to say bye bye…

  8. daveedt says:

    What kind of numbers will Idol have to get, before the powers-that-be, “consider” to cancel it? the numbers may be big, but i would think production costs are astronomical, with the salaries of the cast members. There was no “simon” factor, therefore i wasn’t in love with the two new cast members…
    just my opinion….