Ratings: Idol Slips to All-Time Low, Grey's Tops Night, Beast Holds Steady on Soft Thursday

Ratings American Idol All-Time LowOn a Thursday night when TV usage was down at least 5 percent and not a single piece of broadcast programming saw gains, American Idol slipped 7 percent week-to-week to 11 million total viewers and a 2.7 rating — aka the 12-year-old reality juggernaut’s lowest demo delivery ever.

Leading out of that, Raising Hope‘s double-episode season finale averaged over 4 mil and a 1.3, ticking down in the demo from its last fresh eps but surging some 20 percent in total audience.

RELATED | American Idol: What Should the Top 7 Sing for ‘Classic Rock, No Ballads’ Week?


* Wife Swap opened ABC’s night with 4.3 mil/1.4, down 14 and 18 percent from its premiere. Grey’s Anatomy (8.8 mil/2.8) dipped 6 percent and two tenths (yet beat Idol for the nightly demo win), while Scandal (8.1 mil/2.6) ticked down one tenth.

RELATED | Read Our Recaps for Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

* The Vampire Diaries (2.43 mil/1.2) dipped 8 percent and a tenth, while Beauty and the Beast (1.55 mil/0.6) shed some viewers yet held steady in the demo.

* CBS’ March Madness coverage averaged 6.25 mil and a 2.0 from 8 to 10 pm, then rose in the final primetime hour to 8.3 mil/2.9, as the ‘Cuse took care of IU. Ghost of Keith Smart, be gone!

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email mattmtvguy@gmail.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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. Ted says:

    Grey’s Anatomy #1 Best SHOW ever and beating AI again, Yaaaaaaay

  2. Happy that BATB is holding steady, hope it doesn’t get adjusted down this time.

  3. Amiee says:

    Wow! Idol is really dropping hard this year.

  4. Kandy Kriss says:

    The Neison ratings are a joke. I know 150 or so people in their 20’s and 30’s who watch Idol and myself included. None have Neilson boxes. Not everyone is counted. Plus some of them watch in other ways, including DVR and online. The current rating system is old and outdated. People should not follow that anymore.

    • Shaun says:

      You do realize Neilson is a sampling right?Anyways,it probably is outdated in an age where people will DVR or watch online.

      • Kristina Wethers says:

        Yeah it is only a random sample and it’s not totally accurate, especially in this day and age. Plus TV viewership is down as a whole by 9%, so smaller ratings are not really newsworthy.

      • MJ says:

        By the way, Nielson DOES collect information about how many people watch On Demand or on their DVR. Networks are aware of that info. However, Advertisers don’t care about them so the it’s pretty pointless.

    • Sareena says:

      Yeah I’m a 29 year old female and I don’t have one of those rating boxes either. I have heard the rating system only represents a small amount of people.

      • Brian says:

        It doesn’t represent a small amount of people. It uses a smaller subset to represent a larger group. Please learn how things work before you trash them.

    • Tvfan2011 says:

      100% agree. I am sick of not being counted in ratings. I have never known anyone that had a Nielsen box or contributed to Nielsen ratings. So much about it is unbalanced. 20,000 people are controlling the ratings. How does that represent all of America? So many different tastes and interests out there…20,000 isn’t even the population of what I consider a small city.

      • Laura says:

        Representative samples…how do they work?

      • Megan says:

        Please go Google sampling. You will most likely be less outraged about all of this.

        • just saying says:

          Nope, I will not be less outraged. I’ve been arguing this point for years. My viewing tastes are not dictated by my race, age, or where i live. In real life, people are constantly surprised by my likes and dislikes. Which means that stereotyping me based on these things is foolish. But that is exactly what representative sampling does. It justifies a small sample set by saying that it is indicative of others that are of similar background, and in 2013 that just isn’t true for many groups of people. Sure there are some people for whom stereotypes hold true. But there are enough of us who this doesn’t represent that we feel a disconnect with outmoded ratings systems- understandably so.

      • MrTemecula says:

        Nielsen’s methods are solid. Advertisers spend billions on commercials and must double check every so often to make sure they are not wasting their money. Polling just needs a good representative sample and they are fairly accurate. In the recent presidential election, pollster will only survey between 1,000 and 2,000, but since they had a good sampling, they were accurate to 1-2 percent…at least the liberal/moderate polling companies. Nielsen has an advantage where most of their work is done by a set-top that sends information back to the company.

        • katy says:

          If Nielsons methods are so solid then why are so many shows aside from Idol also losing so many viewers. Are people just throwing their TVs out the window en mass? Lol. I don’t think Neilson is as solid as you say or so many other shows would not be bleeding viewers en mass.

          • Jack says:

            Ever hear of a think called cable, Katy? There are a bizillion cable channels out there all competing for viewers attention and guess what, a lot of them are winning. NETWORK shows are losing viewers but they are still out there. Also, as stated before more and more people are watching shows on line or on DVR. Those numbers are not counted by Nielson. And before you complain about that it has been explained many times in this post WHY they don’t and shouldn’t.

          • Anna says:

            Don’t shoot the messenger katy. Nielson is only reporting the numbers are falling. They aren’t the reason the numbers are falling. There are many logical reasons the network shows are getting lower ratings this year…..but I’m guessing you’re not willing to listen to any of them.

    • Jamie Simone says:

      I don’t know anyone who has a Neilson box either. I know there is only a small sample who has these boxes. How can they represent all television viewers. It’s ridiculous!

      • Elyse says:

        my friends grandma has a nielson box. she says her grandparents don’t even watch TV though.

        • katy says:

          My friends 70 yr old uncle has a neilson box and the only thing he watches is Duck Dynasty and Ncis.

        • Ana says:

          Odd because if that were the case the Nielsen company would have already removed it. Also, the company knows the ages of the household members so it’s not like they will be counted as 18-49 year olds.

          • just saying says:

            I know a lot of older people who leave their tv on all the time just as background noise. It doesn’t mean they are actually watching the programming or the commercials. I never really understood advertising anyways. Am I the only one who isn’t really influenced by it? I think it’s good for getting out information about a new product that one isn’t aware of, but it’s not going to change my mind about a product that i don’t need or have already tried and don’t like. For example, I don’t care how cool a Pepsi or Coke commercial is, I don’t like cola. By this logic, I shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV at all because the advertisers aren’t benefitting from me in the least. Maybe that’s why noone’s offered me a Nielsen box! ;)

          • Anna says:

            Three things:
            1. The way Nielson works is you have to input a code at random times during a broadcast to prove you are in the room in front of the TV. If you don’t put in the code it doesn’t count you.
            2. Of course it’s no guarantee that you watch the commercials but it is more likely you will see something if you watch live. It’s a 99.99999% chance you won’t see any if you DVR.
            3. The fact that people are choosing NOT to watch TV on a particular night is very important information as well. TV networks and advertisers would like to know this as well.

          • leeray says:

            Anna people are not choosing to not watch tv. Networks should care that people are watching via other media like Netflix and Hulu. I watched DWTS on ABC.com last week after I watched the Voice live and I watched the Following on project free tv. So yeah networks had better care about current trends in tv viewing or else all shows will be gone due to low ratings.

          • Anna says:

            leeray, I was refering to Elyse’s comment about her Grandparents not watching TV. Sometimes people (myself included) just aren’t interested in anything that is on and don’t turn the TV on that night. Networks need to know this as well. Also, it has been repeted several times on this thread but I’ll say it again…networks are aware people are watching online. They CHOOSE to ignore them because it doesn’t get them anything. Advertisers only care about people who watch live. Adding in numbers for people who watch online or DVR simply doesn’t help them make money so they don’t care.

    • Amiee says:

      The purpose of the Neilson ratings is not to mesure the popularity of a show. The purpose is to measure how many people watch commercials. You are not the customer. You are the product. Television is selling “you” to the advertisers. So they don’t care if someone is watching online or on their DVR. If you don’t watch the commercials you don’t count.

      • Dav says:

        Exactly! I’m so tired of people b*tching about somthing when they have no idea how it really works. Do a google search, take a statistics class, and shut up!

      • katy says:

        Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t change the fact that the system is flawed due to modern technology and the neilson ratings are old and outdated. They are skewed a certain way. Only a few thousand have these boxes. That skews things and makes it not accurate.

        • Dav says:

          Why is it flawed due to modern technology? And how is it skewed a certain way?

        • Laura says:

          Like Amiee said, it’s a measure of how many people watch the commercials. If you’re watching online/DVR/other method to where you’re NOT watching the commercials you’d be watching if you watched live, you don’t count because advertisers don’t gain anything from you.

          Also, the reason “only a few thousand have these boxes” has to do with statistics (representative samples). There’s absolutely no logical way to quickly/inexpensively gauge the instantaneous viewing habits of everyone in the country 24/7, so they take a representative sample.

          • katy says:

            You made the point. It’s not an accurate representation of who is actually watching a show because online and DVR and those without nielson boxes aren’t counted. It’s skewed only toward a select few.

          • Damien says:

            Katy dear, please take a minute to actually READ what people are saying. Nielson’s job isn’t to measure who is watching a show. There job is to measure who is watching the commercials. Broadcast Television (not cable) makes it’s money by selling ad time. Advertisers only care about people who watch live. The whole point of the Nielson ratings is to inform the advertisers how many people are watching live. Stop arguing that Nielson is unfair because they don’t count online viewing because there is absolutly no reason they should be.

            Live viewers good. Alternate viewing bad. I don’t know how we can make it any more clear.

          • katy says:

            I did read what people are saying but my point still stands. The media uses the ratings to gauge what is or isn’t popular but not an accurate representation of what is being watched. There is an oversaturation of the market,DVR, online and that makes the ratings inaccurate. There could be three shows on at the same time and ill watch one live and the other two days or even weeks later. It doesn’t mean these shows aren’t being watched. It means either Neilson must change with the times or get a more accurate system.

          • Anna says:

            NO Katy, you didn’t read. Ratings DO NOT measuring popularity. They are measuring who watches the commercials. They don’t count people who watch online or who DVR because they do not suit the purpose of the ratings.

          • Dallas says:

            I think you need to take a reading comprehension class. I’ll try to make this as clear as possible. Even if Nielson started today, this very second, to collect viewer numbers for people who watched online and DVR it still wouldn’t matter. The television networks would say “Hey look, we had 20 million people watch that show online” and the Advertisers would say “We don’t give a crap because they didn’t see our commercials. So, we aren’t paying you one single cent more.” and the ad rates would stay exactly the same and nothing different would happen.

          • Eddie says:

            “It doesn’t mean these shows aren’t being watched” – yes, but it means those shows weren’t being watched LIVE.

          • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

            This thread has gotten tragically sad. Nielsen monitors a sample, extrapolates from there. DVR playback matters, but sorta doesn’t (I wrote a massive story on it here). And ratings cannot be measured from cable boxes because 1) privacy concerns and 2) that wouldn’t register the age/gender of who all is watching.

          • Mel says:

            Nielson is a business. They collect the information they do because that is what the Networks and Advertisers are willing to pay for. They are just giving their customers what they want. If they could make money off of tracking online and DVR viewers they would collect it in a heart beat but they don’t because nobody cares about it. It’s rediculous to blame Nielson when it’s the Networks and Advertisers who are making the rules.

          • Mel says:

            Aww Matt, didn’t mean to get you down. Sadly, arguments like this are inevitable this time of year. We are getting close to the end of the TV season and many people have favorite shows that are in danger of cancelation due to low ratings. I feel their pain but I don’t rage against the machine anymore because I know it won’t do any good.

        • leeray says:

          Katy is correct. Not many people watch live any more. Nielson had better care about it because they are quickly becoming irrelevant because Netflix, Hulu ,and other online venues and dvr are the future of tv. That’s why this ratings argument is stupid. They should care because people are not watching live tv anymore and that’s why it’s not accurate anymore.

          • Becky says:

            Nielson is not becoming irrelevant. They are giving the networks and advertisers exactly what they want. Your problem is not with Nielson it’s with the current television business model which depends on advertising for money. Even if Nielson started counting everyone who used Netflix, Hulu, online, DVR, etc it still wouldn’t matter. That’s what you all can’t seem to get through your thick heads. IT WOULDN”T MATTER. Those figures will not make the networks any money. The data is useless to them. The data IS out there but they just don’t want it.

          • Daniel says:

            All, Matt wrote a very good article on this topic. I suggest you click the link he posted a few comments above this one and take the time to read it before you post another ill-informed and incorrect opinion.

          • leeray says:

            It should matter to them because soon more people will watch tv via other media and abandon live tv altogether. They aren’t making bank based on their current business model because less and less people are even watching the tradtional way and so their business model is not working.

      • Brian says:

        Here’s the thing…..Television Networks use these ratings to set ad rates. If they thought changing the system or increasing the number of people who were measured would in ANY WAY allow them to make more money they would do it in a heartbeat. They don’t because the representative sample is accurate enough. Adding more people would only make it more expensive and would not get them any better results.

        And as everyone else has said, Ad companies don’t care about you if you are not watching the commercials. So those of you complaining because Nielson doesn’t count people watching on line or on their DVR might as well stop. They have no reason to count you.

        • just saying says:

          Duh, Brian. But I would argue that this is what is wrong with television programming in the first place and why people have flocked to Premium programming in droves. Quality programming that doesn’t have to worry about being slaves to their ad masters. The entire idea of how we watch television and what that means is changing enormously at the moment and it has to. Personally, I don’t watch commercials even if I’m watching live TV. I go to the kitchen, the bathroom, put it on mute, or channel surf. More and more people are intolerant and uninterested in commercials. That’s one reason why you see an increased number of product placements within shows.

          • Brian says:

            Hey, I won’t argue with you there. You are absolutly right. But everyone here is blaming Nielson and it’s not their fault. The problem is with the TV business model. Having Nielson change who or how many people they count isn’t going to fix things. As long as network TV is funded primarily thorough ad sales, only people who watch live are going to count.

          • just saying says:

            I get that. And you are correct. But it doesn’t help the average viewer when media outlets keep harping on ratings and they know that whether or not they watch doesn’t really matter. I’ve actually seen pleas on this site (Matt, are you listening?) to get your friends to watch a particular show, but the truth is it doesn’t matter. Who is actually watching a show doesn’t count. Who watches the ads on a Nielsen box DOES count. That’s fine, but it’s a bit disingenuous how the entertainment media recounts the ratings.. I understand that advertisers want certain information. But that information means something completely different to the viewing public. There is a disconnect there that should be addressed. And just saying “statistics are good and Nielsen’s are right” doesn’t address it. I think it’s part of why you are seeing some shedding of viewers from networks too. People are tired of feeling like their voice, their tastes, don’t count and they stop giving network shows a chance.

  5. Tina says:

    People say that the fact it looses half of TVD viewers but It has been consistant in its viewers all season and WHEN they get renewed they will be moved to another night because TVD spin-off is sure to go on right after TVD. I think that the fact that we have such a huge fan base is going to help save us. Thursdays are a tough night and I think they are holding their own in the ring.

  6. ollie says:

    GO CUSE! sucks about tvd

  7. Shaun says:

    I think Idol will pick up again once all the cruddy guys are off.Greys was pretty great last night.

  8. Anita says:

    I think it’s EXTRAORDINARY news that Beauty & The Beast MAINTAINED their 0.6 rating on a holiday weekend where daycares/schools are closed and many families are away from their TV’s on vacation!! I, for one, wasnt able to watch it live due to Easter production practice at my church… (again, a holiday-related absence) and represent a viewer that would normally, without fail, be tuned in LIVE as the program aired!

  9. John says:

    When are they canceling Idol?

  10. forwarddad says:

    The girls rule experiment – epic fail.

    • Jim says:

      That may be bleeding viewers now, but the show started with a smaller base due to the WGWG ridiculousness. Why watch a show when you know from the audition rounds who is going to win? That is why I quit watching and why most people I know quit. The WGWG fans are all the season started with and now they’re fleeing too. Stick a fork in Idol.

      • teatime says:

        The ratings are going down week to week this season. That is not because of all the dozen of people who are upset their favorite came in second some season in the past.

  11. mia says:

    Yay for BATB!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Ana says:

    Wow, Idol! Viewer fatigue? The new panel does not seem to be working. This season has been bad for ratings, period. And poor Katherine McPhee. Smash is a bust and her performance didn’t seem to draw any ‘fans’. Greys was awesome last night. Sarah Chalke hit it out of the park. Not a dry eye in my home. And the promo was a gut-wrencher After 9 seasons, Greys is not perfect, but it still manages to draw fans in. And it is still ABC’s number #1 drama. Between Greys and Scandal, Shonda must have the ABC execs eating out of her hand…

    • Nero theTVFiddler says:

      I didn’t catch Greys last night, but was hoping the ‘Sarah factor’ would help the numbers, which I think she did. Now, let’s see how Sarah does next Wed at 9:30pm. I’m assuming ABC was promoting ‘Live w/Parents’ hard last night during Greys – that should help next Wednesday evening and the entire ABC Wednesday lineup. Keep fingers crossed – show time for ABC’s lineup this Wednesday.

      • Damien says:

        Yeah, they had at least 3 promos for her new show during Grey’s. I love Sarah Chalk and hope her show does well but I’m not holding my breath. Late season shows rarely do any good.

  13. connerc says:

    It is the gross manipulation that has turned viewers off AI. They had to make sure a girl won this year. So, they did. And turned off their viewers. Great job producers!

  14. josh says:

    Did NBC not air any programming?

    they should just change their network logo to a white flag