« Previous Post | Show Tracker Home | Next Post »

Update: 'American Idol' premiere ratings slip 10% as young viewers bail


The addition of a fourth judge didn't help "American Idol's" ratings. The show's two-hour Season 8 premiere on Fox Tuesday gathered 30.1 million total viewers - still a very impressive figure, but a decline of 10% compared with last year's premiere and the lowest "Idol" season launch since Jan. 2004.

With new judge Kara DioGuardi added to the familiar judging trio of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, "Idol" averaged an 11.6 rating/28 share in the adults aged 18-49 demographic, handing Fox an easy victory for the night, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research.

Those are still numbers any competitor would kill for. But the "Idol" dropoff was particularly steep among young people, which have traditionally furnished the show's base.  Last year, "Idol" opened with a 13.8/32 in 18-49, translating into a 16% dip in that ad-friendly category. And the program lost one-quarter of its audience among adults aged 18-34.

Given that young people are often the first to bail on a program as it loses steam, these trends could mean that "Idol" is on the cusp of an inevitable ratings erosion this season and beyond. But then, it's far too early to write off a show like "Idol," which showed astonishing durability over its first seven seasons.

Meanwhile, competitors held up as best they could. CBS' older-skewing lineup was only minimally affected, with "NCIS" averaging 18.5 million viewers and "The Mentalist" managing 18.1 million. But CW's "90210," whose youthful audience overlaps with that of "Idol," got hammered, with a 1.9 rating in its core adults aged 18-34 demographic, a 34% plunge compared with its prior season-to-date average. However, CW's youth soap tends to be among the most frequently recorded series on DVRs, so its numbers may rise significantly once viewer playbacks over the next few days are taken into account. Overall, "90210" averaged 2.2 million with a 1.1 rating/3 share in 18-49.   

-- Scott Collins

(Photo courtesy Fox)

Comments () | Archives (10)

Plain and simple, Idol is played out. The no talents in the first episode just aren't that funny anymore (we've seen it all before) and the process is the same over and over. It was fun for awhile but those days are past. American Idol has officially "jumped the shark" with the addition of a new judge they don't need, and an over-extended period of time on the air.

That was last night? hmm. oh well, don't care.

The only reason anyone watches the first few weeks is to laugh at the fools who think they can sing.

Why would they take that away from us.

If you have been paying any attention at all, ALL TV viewing is way down. Why would the first boring weeks of idol be any different. Wait until it gets going it will pick up. It is still the most watched so why would anyone expect them to cancel it when it is clearly still the most popular. Start using your prejudiced heads. PLEASE!

I'm thinking my VOTE doesn't mean a thing anyway. It's REALITY TV. It's planned to garner controversy not to necessarily find the "American Idol". I care NOT to watch.

My issue with Idol last year was this.......could they have had any more old, irrelevent, elevator music "Theme Nights"? I mean come on, they keep doing themes like "The music of Neil Diamond" and then they are surprised when young people stop watching?!

The reason all the theme nights are from Neil Diamond and older music is because all the music nowadays is pre-engineered by recording studios then sung by no talent a$$-clowns or recycled digitally enhanced garbage that you here on the local radio.

The truth is that the singer/songwriter is dead in the record industries view the only good ones left are all independent or indie that would rather be poor than let American Idol USE their music.

American idol is the music industry in its death throes trying to reconnect with the people they ripped off for 30 some odd years.The whole system is screwed and deserves to go bankrupt they will never get another dime from me.

Idol got it wrong.. I rarely watch between the Hollywood week and the finals - but I never miss an early episode because of the odd people who come and think they can sing, then argue with Simon etc... Last night was just boring... I don't need to hear everyone who can sing get a ticket.. I want to see the people who cannot... Without them the show is just to bland!

Thank God. I can no longer watch any news or entertainment show on Fox for fear of seeing YET ANOTHER Idol update, upon which I'd have to kill myself. Time for all these LOSERS to GET A REAL JOB!!!!

Young viewers bail????

Nah, I don't think so. They are just a little tired. Afterall, these genius young Americans just treated the whole Presidential Election last year as one long American Idol show. The American Idol last show ended on Election Day November 4th. They just need a little time to take a break from the show.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: