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'American Idol' gives Fox its best Thursday ratings in 16 years

Jen2_1 "American Idol" pulled off a bit of a magic trick Thursday night, handing Fox its best ratings on the night since 1995 without seriously dragging down the other networks.

Fox moved "Idol" to a Wednesday-Thursday schedule this season after following a Tuesday-Wednesday pattern in years past. In its Thursday debut, "Idol" delivered an average of 22.9 million total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. That was down a relatively modest 13% compared with last year's Wednesday opener -- not bad considering "Idol's" age and the heightened competition on Thursday nights. 

In the key category of adults aged 18 to 49, the decline was more dramatic. "Idol" -- with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez -- slipped to a 7.8 rating in that demographic, for a 23% loss compared with last season. That's a fairly alarming drop for Fox and shows that "Idol" continues to erode much more quickly among young adults than it does among the general population.

Still, Fox easily sailed past its rivals on a Thursday, when lots of movie and other big advertising is floating around for the taking, and that has to be heartening news for a network that hasn't been able to get arrested on Thursdays in years.

Schedulers and researchers were closely watching the results to see how "Idol" affected rivals, but the impact seems to have been minimal. CBS' "Big Bang Theory" delivered a 4.2 rating in viewers aged 18 to 49 (13.6 million viewers overall), which is almost exactly in line with where it's been earlier this season.

During the 9 p.m. hour, Fox's quirky procedural "Bones" got a lift from "Idol" and placed second to NBC's block of "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" in 18-49 (3.9 rating vs. 3.6) and second to CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" among total viewers (14.3 million vs. 10.9 million).

The race will get more competitive in the weeks ahead. ABC and CW were both almost entirely in repeats Thursday.

-- Scott Collins


Photo: Jennifer Lopez is a new judge on "American Idol." Credit: Tony Duran/Fox.

Comments () | Archives (13)

No surprise. Simon is gone. Thank goodness.
Thank you Steve, Randy, and Jennifer.

I wish they had put Steven Tyler on American Idol YEARS ago! He is so cool. He has really given the show a new breath of fresh air. He is also a legend and he knows all about music. This man is a legend in his own time! Rock On!

best judges ever

I have watched AI from year #1,I love AI Steven&JLO&RANDY&RYAN are #1.Very,very good job,keep up the great work!

I wonder if they're planning to have an "Aerosmith" night???

Up to now Idol was becoming a drag. Boring and snooty judges made it even worse. I had made a note to myseld saying if the new season looked like more of the same I would turn Idol off and never watch again. Then came the new judges. It feels like a new show. Clever reparte with smart musical judgement. Steve, Jennifer and Randy are it. Good luck to all.

The 2011 American Idol KNOCKED IT OU OF HE BALL PARK!!!!
The best idol show I have seen in years.
Thank you for this

It's great. Unlike the harsh words of Simon, JLo and ST relayed more powerful messages through their facial expressions and body language. The meaning will surely linger long in the hearts of the audience. From the level of the dogs, AI has transcended to the level of the eagles. Fly high trio. You are now the American Idols.

American Idol is way past it's prime. Steven Tyler has turned into the embarrassing uncle at the family reunion that used to be cool and never grew up. Sad,

I Love these 3 judges My daughter and I love it I actually think its jus as good as Simon and Paula

I loved the show this week. In my own opinion It has started off better this year than it has in years past. I love the new judges they bring a nice new feel to the show very refreshing great job AI!

j-lo & steven was intersting & I really enjoyed , alot better than i thought ooh j-lo your my tv star girl friend come to la or phx i will go see you .

As for Randy, he's super cool and glad he's the only original that stayed (YAY)


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