Fox’s American Idol may have made a case for putting more competition reality series on demand shortly after they air on TV. Last night, Part 2 of the veteran singing show’s two-night premiere drew a 3.0 in adults 18-49 and 11 million viewers in the fast nationals from 8-10 PM. That was down -21% from last year’s Night 2 of Idol premiere in the demo. But in an encouraging sign, that was down just a tenth (-3%) from the Wednesday opening in 18-49 (fast nationals to fast nationals) and up a fraction (100,000) in viewers, the first Night 1-to-Night-2 gain (albeit minuscule) in Idol history.
There is a disclaimer: this year, the opening night of Idol was shrunk to an hour, airing at 8 PM vs. its normal 8-10 PM run. So it is not a strict apples-to-apples comparison. Still, the hold is encouraging, with some pointing to Fox’s decision to make Idol episodes available on demand the next day for the first time as partially responsible for the solid retention.
CBS’ Thursday lineup and NBC’s Parenthood continued the trend this week of series returning higher from holiday hiatuses. The Big Bang Theory (4.5 in adults 18-49) again was the dominant player on the night, up +15% from its last original on December 12. People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday may have drawn a modest audience and posted year-to-year declines, but they seemed to have given a boost to hosts Anna Faris and Allison Janney’s show Mom. The sophomore sitcom (2.8) was up +22% from its last original on December 18 when it didn’t have a new Big Bang as a lead-in to post new series high in the demo as well as total viewers (12.3 million). Two And A Half Men (2.2), The McCarthys (1.7) and Elementary (1.4) were up +16%, +6% and +8%, respectively, from their last originals, also on December 18.
NBC’s Parenthood (1.4, 5.1 million) returned after a seven-week hiatus. The departing family drama was up +8% (a tenth) to equal its highest demo rating since October 3 and log its largest audience in 15 months, since the 2013 September season premiere.
The few series that aired originals last Thursday on a New Year’s night of super-depressed viewing levels saw their numbers go up from the dismal lows last week. The Taste (0.9, 3.2 million) was up +29% in the demo to match a season high. NBC’s The Biggest Loser (1.3) jumped +44%, Bad Judge (0.8) +60% and A To Z (0.6) +50%.