American Idol 12 Premiere Ratings Continue to Drop (UPDATED)

American Idol ratings are down from last night, but that is to be expected. Numbers are also down 11% from last year’s comparable 1 hour episode.

UPDATE: With the demo numbers in, Zap2it reports that Idol 12 second night ratings match last year’s 2nd night numbers.

-Ratings Breakdown from Marc Berman:

Opposite all repeats on CBS, it was an easy Thursday overnight victory for Fox, which featured two more hours of American Idol. Idol averaged a 10.4 rating/16 share from 8-10 p.m., which dipped by 11 percent from both a one-hour edition on the year-ago evening (11.7/18 on 1/19/12 opposite originals on CBS) and the two-hour season-opener on Wednesday (11.7/18 on 1/16/13). The 11.7/18 in the overnights on Wednesday translated into 17.93 million viewers and a 6.0 rating/16 share among adults 18-49, based on the Live Plus Same Day results (which dipped by 4.0 million viewers and 19 percent in the demo from the year-ago season-premiere). In other words, Idol is down but certainly not over.

Watch this space for viewer and demo updates!

Ratings from TVByTheNumbers

FOX won the night in adults 18-49 and in Total Viewers.

On FOX, night 2 of the American Idol premiere earned a 5.6, down four tenths from last night’s 6.0 adults 18-49 rating but matching last year’s night 2 premiere preliminary rating.


FOX American Idol (8-10PM) 5.6 15 16.19
CBS The Big Bang Theory -R 3.3 10 11.90
CW The Vampire Diaries 1.4 4 2.91
NBC 30 Rock 1.3 4 3.50
ABC Last Resort 1.0 3 5.01


CBS Two and a Half Men -R 2.4 6 9.13
NBC Parks and Recreation 1.9 5 3.89


ABC Grey’s Anatomy 2.9 7 8.68
NBC The Office 2.1 5 4.15
CBS Person Of Interest -R 1.6 4 9.36
CW The Carrie Diaries -R 0.5 1 1.15

9:30 PM

NBC 1600 Penn 1.2 3 3.04

10:00 PM

ABC Scandal 2.6 7 7.95
CBS Elementary -R 1.4 4 7.05
NBC Rock Center With Brian Williams 1.2 3 4.38

Half Hour Breakdown from Marc Berman:

8:00 p.m.

ABC – Last Resort
Viewers: 5.23 million (#3), A18-49: 1.1/ 3 (#5)

CBS – The Big Bang Theory (R)
Viewers: 11.90 million (#2), A18-49: 3.3/10 (#2)

NBC – 30 Rock
Viewers: 3.50 million (#4), A18-49: 1.3/ 4 (#4)

Fox – American Idol
Viewers: 14.46 million (#1), A18-49: 4.9/14 (#1)

CW – The Vampire Diaries
Viewers: 2.99 million (#5), A18-49: 1.4/ 4 (#3)


8:30 p.m.

ABC – Last Resort
Viewers: 4.79 million (#3), A18-49: 1.0/ 3 (#5)

CBS – Two and a Half Men (R)
Viewers: 9.13 million (#2), A18-49: 2.4/ 6 (#2)

NBC – Parks and Recreation
Viewers: 3.89 million (#4), A18-49: 1.9/ 5 (#3)

Fox – American Idol
Viewers: 17.23 million (#1), A18-49: 5.9/16 (#1)

CW – The Vampire Diaries
Viewers: 2.83 million (#5), A18-49: 1.3/ 4 (#4)


9:00 p.m.

ABC – Grey’s Anatomy
Viewers: 8.61 million (#3), A18-49: 2.8/ 7 (#2)

CBS – Person of Interest (R)
Viewers: 9.59 million (#2), A18-49: 1.7/ 4 (#4)

NBC – The Office
Viewers: 4.15 million (#4), A18-49: 2.1/ 5 (#3)

Fox – American Idol
Viewers: 16.61 million (#1), A18-49: 5.8/15 (#1)

CW – The Carrie Diaries (R)
Viewers: 1.20 million (#5), A18-49: 0.5/ 1 (#5)


9:30 p.m.

ABC – Grey’s Anatomy
Viewers: 8.74 million (#3), A18-49: 3.0/ 8 (#2)

CBS – Person of Interest (R)
Viewers: 9.14 million (#2), A18-49: 1.5/ 4 (#4)

NBC – 1600 Penn
Viewers: 4.15 million (#4), A18-49: 1.2/ 3 (#4)

Fox – American Idol
Viewers: 16.44 million (#1), A18-49: 5.8/15 (#1)

CW – The Carrie Diaries (R)
Viewers: 1.11 million (#5), A18-49: 0.4/ 1 (#5)


10:00 p.m.

ABC – Scandal
Viewers: 8.24 million (#1), A18-49: 2.8/ 7 (#1)

CBS – Elementary (R)
Viewers: 7.27 million (#2), A18-49: 1.4/ 4 (#2)

NBC – Rock Center With Brian Williams
Viewers: 4.50 million (#3), A18-49: 1.2/ 3 (#3)


10:30 p.m.

ABC – Scandal
Viewers: 7.66 million (#1), A18-49: 2.5/ 7 (#1)

CBS – Elementary (R)
Viewers: 6.83 million (#2), A18-49: 1.4/ 4 (#2)

NBC – Rock Center With Brian Williams
Viewers: 4.27 million (#3), A18-49: 1.1/ 3 (#3)

Source: Nielsen Media Research data

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  • Kesia Monteith

    Oh well, some shows just tend to lose some of it’s luster. It is 12 seasons old. Some of the press can say, “Idol’s done”! And they’ll be saying the same thing about The Voice shortly ;)

  • Joseph

    Expected, Thursdays a harder night. 

  • Kariann Hart

    I think Idol still has some good life left to it.  The judging panel is still working on the chemistry.  Would be great if it was like Dancing with the Stars or The Voice.  So far, this looks like a terrific season.  I’d watch the show, no matter what!  Several contestants interest me already!

  • ladymctech

    I liked Thursday’s episode better than Wednesday’s. I felt some worthwhile people advanced last night and just accept the Nicki/Mariah drama as part of the background noise.

  • elliegrll

    An 11% drop isn’t so bad.  It’s pretty much in line with the drops that the show usually sees from one season to the next.

  • bridgette12

    The numbers will pick up after the auditions are over.

  • annie12120

    Why is the drop expected?  Aren’t Minaj and Carey  supposed to be the famous draw, the big reason to tune in and watch while they fight? You know-Reality TV directed at its lowest common denominator watching two extremely overpaid women fighting and bickering and the audience is supposed to love it all, tune in for more… watch for when they finally scratch each others eyes out… whooo hooo.
    Great, “must see” TV. Not.

  • Joseph

    The drop is expected because Thursday is a harder night for television, therefore, it wasn’t expected to beat Wednesday’s ratings. It has nothing to do with Nicki and Mariah, you can’t discount analytics and statistics.

  • bridgette12

    I think that might work for the “housewives of _____”, but it’s not a good formula for Idol. It makes the women on the show look petty and childish and the men look like saps for sitting there and watching it all take place without opening their mouths to stop it.   

  • fantoo1

    Great news! Ratings on par with the 2nd episode last year!

  • annie12120

    But viewers are suppposed to be excited to watch all the antics of the judges and tune in droves to watch the women judges fight…. that is the spin from the big Fox Honcho just yesterday.
    I’d say his “Jersey Shore” edit isn’t working so well. :)

  • maymay

    Last year was 5.8 and this year is 5.6. It almost doesn`t drop. And maybe it will adjust up.

  • raya

    From what I can tell overall viewers were down somewhat from S11’s initial Thursday outing, though not a steep drop obviously, but the 18-49 demo is only slightly under last year.  Hence some of the “ratings holding steady” headlines I’ve already seen this morning, since most ratings reports only care about the demo numbers and not overall viewers.  TPTB have to be happy this morning, especially since numbers might still be adjusted up.

  • Valentin432

    Thisi is kind of a new developpement that the ratings stayed relatively steady from night 1 to night 2.

    For as long as I can remember we saw huge drops between the premiere and the second episode, it’s true that they had more space to fall since the ratings for the premiere were generally huge. 

    Several factors could explain that, maybee people really liked the first episode so the retention rate was good or maybee the casual viewer who sampled the AI premiere and drove huge ratings isn’t that interested anymore so the people who watched the premiere are AI fans who are more likely to stick with the show after the premiere.

  • justmefornow

    I think the key fact here was “all repeats on CBS”. 
    That’s a big factor right there, IMO.

  • Nanc

    This show is 12 years old….look how high the ratings are compared to the other shows last night…its still number 1…Idol isn’t going anywhere

  • Amy Beth

    These seem like good numbers. The only cautionary note is that a repeat of Big Bang got almost 12 million viewers and a decent demo.  I assume CBS is holding back new episodes until sweeps.

  • Aaron

    “Idol is done,” said the fans of flop factor whose ratings aren’t even half of idol’s. 

  • fantoo1

    Maybe, but it still looks good for the show either way lol.

    Crossing my fingers for it to be adjusted 2 points-so that they can say they beat last years ratings(probably won’t happen so I will take onpar lol).

  • ptebwwong

    The drop is expected for a 12 yr old show. I think once the auditions are over & we get to know & like some contestants the ratings will level out & be ok.

    I know some people are criticizing Nicki & Mariah being the judges & the feud. I don’t like the feud either. But at least Idol tried to do something about the ratings decline. They didn’t keep Steven & J-Lo. They didn’t hire judges like Aretha which still wouldn’t help their ratings. They tried hiring new different judges. We will have to wait & see if it works out. I’d rather they tried something new than sit back & do nothing!

    Actually, if you don’t look at the feud all of the new judges can criticize & say no. They are intelligent in their critiques. If they stopped or the producers stopped centering on the feud, these could be good judges.

  • springboard2

    There is always a drop between auditions 1 and auditions 2, and this one is actually small compared to other seasons. It may be encouraging.

  • EmmaCT

    Ummm… Fox easily won the night. AI beat top-rated “The Big Bang Theory” and “Person of Interest” and “Grey’s Anatomy” and was double to quadruple the audience of other shows. “Drop” has to be kept in perspective –

  • springboard2

    This is the percentage drop between auditions 1 and 2 since season 5:

    Demo Ratings:

    Season. Auditions 1 > Auditions 2 > % drop
    S5 .  15.3 > 13 > 15%
    S6.  15.8 > 15.5 > 1.9%
    S7.  13.8 > 12.6 > 8.7%
    S8.  11.7 > 11.8 > -0.9%
    S9.  11.8 > 10.1 > 14.4%
    S10.  9.7 > 7.8 > 19.6%
    S11.  7.4 > 5.7 > 23%
    S12.  6 > 5.6 > 6.7%


    Season. Auditions 1 > Auditions 2 > % drop
    S5.  36 > 32 > 11.1%
    S6.  37.4 > 36.9 > 1.3%
    S7 .  33.4 > 30.4 > 9%
    S8.  30.424 > 30.322 > 0.3%
    S9.  29.936 > 26.393 > 11.8%
    S10.  26.23 > 22.9 > 12.7%
    S11.  21.93 > 18.02 > 17.8%
    S12.  17.93 > 16.2 > 9.6%

  • ptebwwong

    Thanks for those stats! Looking at them the percentage drops for S12 don’t look that bad! I knew S11 had a big drop, but I didn’t know S9 & 10 had a big drop. Guess it was expected since Simon left.

  • Larc

    I don’t think either Mariah or Nicki is really doing anything for the show.  Overall, they have been a negative rather than a plus so far.  But that’s not their fault.  When FOX/Idol puts celebrity so far ahead of true ability in their considerations for hiring judges, not much better can be expected.  Since the original three, they apparently want to hire only the most famous entertainers they can afford as judges.  In the unlikely event those judges actually turn out to be qualified, that’s all gravy.  But none has yet.

  • Taylor

    AI beat Big Bang because it was a repeat.
    I don’t know how the other shows on CBS usually rate, but they were also repeats.

  • ptebwwong

    Obviously, most people are concentrating on the feud between them. 

    Frankly, I don’t like the centering on the feud either. But if you look past that usually the 3 new judges can criticize, can give knowledgeable critiques, are interesting, say no to contestants (even sob stories), have a sense of humor, and can be sensitive. That’s better than many of the judges Idol has had in the past.

    No judging panel can ever compete with the original Idol panel. But they had it’s faults, too. Just like they are negatives about The Voice panel (which many people love). No panel is perfect.

  • Li Wright

    I predicted it last season….find my messages….People complained about JLO and Steven, and I said no matter who was in the seat the people would complain…and reading the critics’ reports, they’re not happy with these two women.  So no matter, if it’s Paula, Simon, Jacky, Jack, Hulu sitting in the judges seat, the public is not going to be happy.  Maybe we should bring back Star Search?

  • elliegrll

    I think the drop is expected because ratings are down for all shows.  That being said, the ratings matching last year’s, and only being down 4% in comparison to Wednesday is a good thing.

    Without the new judging panel the drops could be worse.  After the first round it’s going to be up to the contestants and the way that they are presented, to make sure that viewers stick around.

  • ptebwwong

    elliegirl: Without the new judging panel the drops could be worse. 

    I agree. If they had some of the other rumored judges like Aretha, Diddy, even Idol alums like Adam or Carrie, the show would have still dropped from last year’s ratings. 

    It’s an old show. Many other shows would be happy to have these ratings in it’s 2nd season let alone it’s 12th season. Idol needed to get back some of it’s 18-49 viewers. Aretha & artists who are not current wouldn’t have brought that demo back. Even if Katy Perry (who was supposedly offered a deal & turned it down) had been a judge, people would have criticized her the same way as Nicki. She can’t sing, hasn’t had a long enough career, etc. Idol can’t win with whoever is a judge. 

    It is up to the contestants whether they keep us watching. If you find a contestant that you like or love, I think most people would still watch even if they don’t like the judges. I know people who watched S8 for Adam or S10 for Haley & muted the tv during judges comments because they didn’t want to listen to the judges. So as long as you find that “one special contestant” to you I doubt “bad” judges can keep people from watching.

  • blackberryharvest

    Its kind of interesting seeing the different boards/blogs/etc and their different reactions to the judges(mostly Nicki). They can’t stand her on the idol Facebook, Yahoo Reality rocks, or the imdb Idol board. But on here, Tvline, and Idol Forums, the consensus seem to actually like Nicki(not all, but a lot). Just an interesting observation.   

  • elliegrll

    I don’t think that they’ve been a negative.  They, and Keith, have offered more insight and personality than Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler did.  The drops probably would be bigger if the show did nothing, and just stuck with Tyler and Lopez.

    The show is up against two huge obstacles, the show being 12 years old, and the decline in viewership that most shows, except the Big Bang Theory, are seeing.  I don’t think that the main goal was this year’s ratings were going to be higher than last year’s, it was to avoid a huge ratings loss, while still maintaing or attracting a large number of 18-49 year old viewers.  Having pretty much the same amount in that category as last season is interesting, and will be impressive if they can keep it going. 

  • Taylor

    We have no idea what the drops would have been if they had stuck with the old judges or even gone with different ones. They could have been the same as what we are seeing now.

    They were looking for a ratings increase over Jlo and Steven. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have paid out that much money for the three new judges. One thing is pretty clear, the big name judges aren’t increasing the ratings on these shows. If these ratings continue, Idol will be dumping a couple of judges next season. They will have to keep Ryan and they are too scared to move away from Nigel.

    Is The Voice going to be on Mondays and Tuesdays or Wednesdays and Thursdays this year? When does it start up again?

  • elliegrll

    I doubt that AI is going to be dumping judges.  Companies still need to advertise their products, and in the current market only The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead are bringing in as many people as AI.

    Neither you or I can speak to what the producers or Fox wanted, but it would be odd for them to assume that the ratings would increase significantly, or at all due to the across the board drop in viewers for all shows.  It was going to be a given that AI’s drop was going to be at least 10%.

  • blackberryharvest

    If these ratings continue, Idol will be dumping a couple of judges next season.

    I think they are satisfied that these ratings stayed stable from Wednesday, the demo only had a 6.7% decrease. The 5.6 is basically on par with last years 5.7 demo.

  • CB40

    Nicki is awesome and has rejuvenated me. I couldn’t take another year of J-Lo and Steven’s niceness / flightiness

  • Sassycatz

    Personally, I’m liking this panel better than the previous one and, both are miles better than the checked-out Simon, Ellen, Kara, and Randy season. To be honest, I think the current panel has the potential to rival the original in terms of both “telling like it is” and in entertainment, but of course, they have a long way to go and more than enough time to disappoint.

  • Taylor

    They will be dumping them if ratings don’t pick up. The ratings picked up with season 10. They were hoping for the same. Instead they got the same old erosion of ratings. New viewers aren’t tuning in to see the new panel.
    It’s a lesson that all the shows are learning this year. I expect the same thing will happen with The Voice.
    Too many singing shows, too many celebrities.

  • Mateja Praznik

     I doubt any of the three new judges will be dumped next year. I mean, what are the chances that any of them is planning to return for season 13? Doing a show like AI is time consuming.

  • blackberryharvest

    I’m not even sure if they were expecting the ratings to rise. They just didn’t want another huge dip like they saw in Season 11-the judges were supposed to make the drop smaller, not necessarily make the ratings go up. And so far, it seems to be working.

  • Taylor

    The judges were supposed to keep the show from dropping or help it rise in the ratings. So far, it’s not working.
    New viewers aren’t turning in or the ratings would be rising.

  • fantoo1

    The new judges helped it from dropping another 25%.

  • sweetmm

    Next Thursday TBBT won’t be a repeat right?  AI ratings gonna drop big next week if just a repeat could garner 3.3

  • Taylor

    The season premiere dropped 13% as opposed to the 18% drop it saw a year earlier. It’s still dropping. Maybe ratings will pick up.

  • hillstreetblooz

     It means that in spite of all the pissin’ and moanin’ about her and this panel, Idol still got ’em watching – why all the heartburn if you’re still taking time to tune in, lol… Idol knows who their all day suckers are  – why you think Nicki looking like a pack o’ Skittles? Sit back, enjoy the show :)

  • Guilherme

    So, with the demo numbers, Idol actually 2nd night actually match last year 2nd. Good, really good. They really are doing well on avoid big drops (taking in count the show and the sing competitions fadigue + tv overall drops) and actually pull it of a stable match with last year. And still, the show has alot potential to go up as long the season progress, like it happened in the last couple years.

  • mjsbigblog

    The ratings picked up with season 10

    No. The Season 10 premiere saw a drop in ratings compared to Season 9. Every season premiere has seen a year-to-year drop since Season 7.

    Season 10’s AVERAGE ratings were better than Season 9 when all was said and done.

    Steven and Jlo had great reviews initially, plus the contestants were a more engaging lot than the previous year.  The ratings rose once the live shows began.  There is no reason why that scenario couldn’t play out again this year.

  • Taylor

    Season 10’s AVERAGE ratings were better than Season 9 when all was said and done.

    That’s what I said with my statement you quoted. I agree with you. :)

    I also agree that it ends up coming down to the contestants. So the question remains: does it make sense to spend that much money on judges? It didn’t work with Britney on X Factor. Jlo and Steven didn’t seem to really help the ratings on Idol, either.

    They should stick with fun, knowledgeable, entertaining music artists and skip the big names. Demi ended up being a good investment on XF and it looks like Keith is going to be the same way at Idol. Viewers are looking for chemistry and fun from the judges and a few contestants they can root for. Other than that, the producers are wasting their money on the big name judges. 

  • Kellen

    I’m not surprised. I can’t stand the constant bickering with Nicki and Mariah. 

  • thirdtime

    I agree with Taylor – I don’t think Idol would have spent the kind of money they did on judges this year without expecting a rise in ratings – not just to maintain the ratings from last year or certainly not to drop even lower than last year.  They have got to be majorly disappointed with these ratings so far.

  • hillstreetblooz

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I was not being any of the things you describe in your comments.  you do what you have to do – maybe taking some of the advice you dish out would be a start. Peace.

  • roarpen

     “I’m not surprised. I can’t stand the constant bickering with Nicki and Mariah. ”

    Based on everything I am hearing “around the water cooler” at work, America doesn’t like the bickering either. I think it will ultimately hurt Idol. Then again, I think Nicki is a breath of fresh air and most of the water cooler talk I am hearing about her is negative. We’ll see what transpires.

  • Aaron

    “Your performance was so beautiful it gave me goosies.”