‘American Idol’ Sees Ratings Plunge in Season 11 Premiere
Ratings for the season 11 premiere of “American Idol” slipped to the lowest levels since the first season of the show premiered back in the summer of 2002. The season premiered with low ratings on Wednesday, and ratings dropped even further for the show that aired Thursday, which faced tougher competition from network sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Parks and Recreation.”
In fact, it was the first time since that inaugural season that the successful singing competition has been in danger of not being the ratings leader on whatever night it airs. The first seasons of the show aired on Monday and Tuesday nights, before being moved to its current slot of Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, the show had 21.93 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. This represents a 16.45 percent drop from the 26.25 million that tuned in for opening night last year. The lower ratings seem to be becoming a trend, as this year’s numbers represent a 28 percent drop from two years ago.
Thursday was even worse, with only 18 million viewers watching the episode. That’s down 23 percent from Wednesday night’s stats, and 27 percent from the first Thursday show last year. Entertainment Weekly reports that “The Big Bang Theory,” which is on CBS opposite of “American Idol,” had 15.7 million viewers, easily representing the closest ratings gap between “American Idol” and the second-place show since the reality show’s first season.
Many news outlets are reporting that the ratings drops are likely due to viewers tiring of singing competitions. Fox’s “X Factor,” the singing competition with former Idol stars Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul serving as judges, just ended about a month ago.
While “American Idol” has been beaten in the ratings in the past by specials such as the Olympics, this is the first time it is in danger of being edged out by a sitcom.