Ratings: American Idol Premiere Has Biggest Drop Yet, SVU Hits All-Time Low

The Season 11 premiere of American Idol drew 21.9 million total viewers and a 7.4 demo rating, dropping 17 percent and 24 percent from last season’s opener.

The reality juggernaut’s delivery of the coveted 18-to-49 crowd, in particular, falls below its Season 10 average (8.0) and represents the show’s steepest between-seasons decline ever (“topping” a year ago’s drop of 18 percent).

Michael Slezak’s American Idol Premiere Recap: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Bad Auditions

Nonetheless, as expected and is tradition, Idol‘s rivals took a hit. For one, every sitcom in the 8 and 9 o’clock hours dropped, with NBC newbie Are You There, Chelsea? absorbing the biggest blow. ABC’s Modern Family and Happy Endings, meanwhile, each dipped just a tenth in the demo.

In fact, the only show to gain on Wednesday was ABC’s Revenge at 10 pm, ticking up a tenth in the demo (after the Idol dust has cleared).

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Going hour-by-hour….

8 pm | ABC’s The Middle (8.2 mil/2.6) was down 14 and 10 percent, while Suburgatory (7 mil/2.5) dropped 10 and 14 percent. NBC’s Whitney (4.3 mil/1.6) plunged 26 and 20 percent, while Chelsea (4.3 mil/1.8) fell 31 and 22 percent. One Tree Hill (1.52 mil/0.7) dropped 22 percent in the demo from its season opener.

9 pm | Criminal Minds (12.83 mil/3.2) was the night’s most-watched scripted program, but dipped 6 percent in the demo to hit a season low. ABC’s Modern Family (11.8 mil/5.0) and Happy Endings (6.22 mil/2.9) each dipped just a few percentage points. Harry’s Law (6.4 mil/1.1) plunged 24 percent in total audience, but just a tenth in the demo.

Fun fact: ABC notes that Modern Family delivered its best-ever rating opposite Idol and the best rating for any network program facing a Wednesday Idol premiere. And mind you, that was the “F-word” episode that caused a national stir! < / sarcasm>

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10 pm | CSI led the hour with 11.8 million total viewers and a 2.8 demo rating, slipping 3 percent on both counts. Revenge (7.6 mil/2.5)  — which just got a whole bunch revengier! — held steady in audience and gained a tenth in the demo, while SVU (6.4 mil/1.8) dropped 24 and 10 percent, hitting an all-time low demo rating. Doink, doink.

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  1. Alex says:

    Not what it used to be ratings wise, but still probably beat everything else.

  2. Brad says:

    Great to see. The show has run its course. Time to give up those 3-4 hours AI monopolizes each week and develop some actual entertaining non-reality shows.

    • Kat says:

      Agree completely. I stopped watching AI years ago because, honestly, there are so many good non-reality shows out there that I no longer wanted to give up so many hours each week watching it.

    • Ben says:

      Yes, at 21.4 million, and 7.4 in the demo, everyone who predicts idols demise every year will DEFINITELY be right this year. Not. AI is around for many years yet. If you don’t want to watch it, don’t, but don’t make the mistake of being one of those people who thinks AI has run its course just because you want to believe it.

  3. Kathy says:

    People actually still watch American Idol?

  4. David says:

    Gave it another shot last night. Won’t tune in the rest the season. Big fail with Steven Tyler. Extremely creepy watching him with prepubescent little children. Either raise the age limit to an acceptable level or get rid of Tyler.

  5. PutAforkINit says:

    yay — loving the decline

    put a fork in it

    show should have ended with simon’s departure

  6. Jamie says:

    I hope One Tree Hill did OK

  7. Rob says:

    One of the problems is is that while the Audition rounds can be fun to see and a great look into future contestants lives, it gets boring after awhile. I found myself tuning out midway during the show. Shorten auditions to an hour show or just do less of them. More Hollywood rounds or break it up by adding more contestants and run the main show longer! Switch it up! lol.

  8. Amy says:

    that Chelsea Handler show is gonna die soon (I hope)

  9. katie says:

    It’s been 11 years. Can they stop reporting this as news on CNN? I used to be the biggest Idol fan and now I couldn’t care less.

    Shark = jumped

  10. KSM says:

    Between the crappy new judges and the crappy winners last year, I just have no interest in it, when there are other, better things to watch on TV. Maybe when the Top 12 come on I’ll check it out, but with SO MANY competition shows on, AI doesn’t seem to get the quality of singers that it used to back in the day.

  11. dot says:

    American idol is boring and way to long I never really like shows that have people singing/reality bt I have to. Say the voice is really good can’t wait to have that back!

  12. Bad Breaker says:

    I, as I’m guessing lots of other viewers, stopped watching the audition rounds several years ago. I have better use for my 4 hours a week and will pick AI up when it gets to the final 16 or so.

  13. GeorgiaPat says:

    I’ll continue to watch Idol for as long as it runs, because, in spite of my poking fun at the whole Idol Machine, many of my favorite artists got their big breaks on Idol. I never would have heard of Kelly Clarkson, David Cook, Kris Allen, Michael Johns, Haley Reinhart, and many more talented people, without American Idol.

    However….I rarely watch the earliest auditions. I don’t get interested until the Top 12, and last night, the ABC comedies were an irresistible lure.

  14. Nat says:

    I don’t mind that its ratings dropped – it was bound to happen eventually, and it’s still 20 million+ – I just really hope that The Voice doesn’t beat it in the demos. Honestly, I think that show is so poorly formatted and only exists to blow up the egos of its mentors. Plus last season proved it didn’t produce commercially viable stars. Whatever people say about Idol being a ‘machine’, I always feel like enough of its stars are successful (and talented) to legitimize it.

    • Ben says:

      Yah. One season of the voice was enough for me. I could barely even take one of the x factor. Idol is superior to both in nearly every single way.

  15. Hannah says:

    The show was a bore last night. There weren’t enough bad auditions, and I lost interest after a while. I’ll check it out again tonight, but if it hasn’t improved, this could be the end of it for me. Besides, I hate the new judges.

  16. Bobbi says:

    Well, they did exceed Simon’s 20 million……..

  17. Paul says:

    Yay Revenge! It really is the most enjoyable show on television. Last night was fantastic.

  18. Abe Froman says:

    I am SO over singing competition shows.

  19. kevin says:

    American Idol auditions still too much for me the same way it did for The X Factor but I won’t rest ’til the post Super Bowl episode of The Voice is way better than those two and the “blind auditions” really got me hooked.

  20. Revenge is Sweet says:

    Good job by ABC to promote the return of Revenge on Feb 8th.. Oh wait, they didn’t because we needed to see 7 of the same promos for The River.. I bet you 10% of people watching Revenge last night, that don’t follow TV news on the internet, thought that was a season finale.. BAD job by ABC. Show comes back in 3 weeks and we can’t even get a new promo.

    If the River is so great, why did ABC only order 8 episodes?

    • Nick says:

      No one in there right mind thought that was the finale. People might show up next week thinking its a new episode. But so what.

      • Revenge is Sweet says:

        Well then I guess a lot of people on twitter aren’t in their right mind.

        So you don’t think it’s important to promote when the next new episode is? Hmmm wait a second, do you work for FOX?

    • LOSTie says:

      I completely agree with Nick. People who actually pay attention to the show shouldn’t have been flustered. Its easily acceptable that the season finale will take place AFTER what happened in the first 5mins of the shows premiere. Plus ABC has a nasty history of not revealing any info when there is no episode in sight for the next there weeks. If it was returning in 2 weeks, they would have shown us a preview. Also The River LOOKS extremely interesting and the only ABC can assure an audience is if they hammer it into our heads. cheers.

  21. fernando says:

    Love Revenge I am so happy it has hold its audience. It was 7 million when People Choice was on, it was 7 million on its mid season finale when every other ABC dropped it stay the same and when it came back from it midseason break it was 7 million, i am so proud of the Revenge fans, we are the reason this show is lasting and I hope we will get stronger and bigger. Great show, with great cast and great writers.

  22. John Grose says:

    I’d have like to have watched American Idol, but it’s on against too many other shows and I can only DVR so much. Re-air it Saturday night and I’ll catch it then. – John

  23. Winnie says:

    Yes! Matt Webb Mitovich hit that “doink doink!”

    I actually liked last night’s SVU (minus another Munch-less period), but I’m also the only person I know who still watches it.

    I’m going to miss Revenge on Wednesday nights for the couple of weeks it’s on break…

  24. Danny says:

    Poor NBC. I can’t believe “Harry’s Law” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” aren’t “a sure thing” on the Renewal Scorecard. True, they’re low-rated, but they are rated better than almost everything else on NBC’s schedule.

    • Holly says:

      Yeah, but Harry’s Law is probably expensive to produce and has a terrible demo rating. I think that’s probably why it’s low on the renewal scorecard. When you’re an hour long drama with one of the lowest demos on a network, it’s dangerous territory.

  25. Sue says:

    For Mature adults this show has no class. They say they are in their own league.They do not feel the X Factor is their competition, seriously they are correct. Apples to Oranges.

    The X Factor has class all the way…… Idol once was good. Randi needs to grow up and Steve Tyler needs to take classes how to talk. This show is old. The talent is good but not like the talent on theX Factor

    • Dawn says:

      Agree! This show has nobody on it that acts like adults or has any class. Lopez is promoting herself, Randi is trying to live life through the talented young! Singers and Steve Tyler well…… Talented as he is he needs to watch his manners.

      The money these judges get they could feed a starving country. I hope this is the last season.

      Idol you do not hold a candle to the X Factor

  26. me says:

    happy endings should be paired up with cougar town!!!

  27. Bradley says:

    I really hope Are You There, Chelsea? gets cancelled fast so Community can come back.