Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
With American Idol’s ratings down well into double-digits year-to-year this season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe claimed not to be surprised by the drop and even grew somewhat defensive with journalists during a conference call this morning. “You’re asking me how I feel about the 11th season ratings when I originally thought we’d be going off the air after three weeks (of season 1)?” he said. “Let’s be honest about this: We’re constantly compared against ourselves and our own ratings. Of course you’re going to see some sort of deterioration in the numbers.” Lythgoe sees the reason for the slippage as stemming from a combination of factors, chiefly the increased competition and resultant music reality series fatigue. “We’ve got The Voice and X Factor going now, and we’re all feeding from the same talent pool and of course the same ratings pool. …We’d always said we would never two Idols in a single year, and this is why. Now we have X Factor sitting there, and it feels just like Fox is doing two Idols a season. Add to that The Voice and of course there’s going to be viewer fatigue, as much you see when you have too many science fiction dramas or too many hospital dramas on television.” Lythgoe was quick to note that “we’ve still got the No. 1 show on TV in our 11th year. That’s pretty incredible. And after 11 years, I don’t think we should have to be defending ourselves. … Whatever bad press we’re getting about the ratings, I mean, my God the rest of the world would kill for these kinds of ratings.” (more…)