UPDATE: Fox has released time-adjusted fast nationals for American Idol, which was adjusted up to a 7.4 rating in 18-49 and 21.9 million viewers, bringing the year-to-year drops to 24% and 17%, respectively.
PREVIOUS: Eleven seasons in, American Idol is starting to come down to earth. Last night’s Season 11 premiere of Fox’s ratings juggernaut drew 21.6 million viewers and a 7.2/18 among adults 18-49. That was down 26% in the 18-49 demo and 18% in viewers from last year’s premiere (fast nationals-to-fast nationals) and the reality veteran’s lowest-rated season opener since the show’s inauspicious debut in summer 2002 (see historical data below). It also represents Idol’s biggest ratings drop between seasons. Last season’s premiere, also at the time the lowest-rated since Season 1, posted the second-biggest drops of 12% (viewers) and 17% (adults 18-49). A lot has changed since the show’s 10th season opener in January 2011. Back then, Idol was the only game in town in terms of big-scale singing competitions. Since then, two formidable rivals have entered the fray: NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s The X Factor, crowding the space. (more…)