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What's behind 'American Idol's' ratings comedown?

February 3, 2012 |  2:44 pm


"American Idol" is still a hit TV show. It's just not the phenomenal hit it once was.

Ratings for Thursday's close of the Season 11 auditions offered more proof. Fox's singing show drew 17.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That's roughly even with last week -- but it's also in line with the double-digit drop "Idol' has seen across the board compared with last season.

In fact, it was the third Thursday in a row "Idol" was beaten in the crucial adults aged 18 to 49 demographic by CBS' sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (5.4 rating versus 5.0, in early data).

Anything above a 4.0 counts as a great rating these days -- but for "Idol," a show that once stacked demo ratings higher than all its competitors combined -- it's quite a comedown.

Earlier this week, a Times feature analyzed "Idol's" ratings drop.


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Photo: "American Idol" hopefuls gather for the St. Louis auditions. Credit: Whitney Curtis / Fox