Thursday Ratings: American Idol Leads FOX Win

Ratings are in from TVByTheNumbers

American Idol’s 2 hour episode scored a 5.0 adults 18-49 rating, down 14% vs. a 5.8 rating for its one hour episode last week. That was Idol’s lowest adults 18-49 rating since its first season (7/31/02). Idol half hour ratings [4.6, 5.4, 4.9, 5.2]. That still led a Fox win for adults 18-49 ratings and total viewership by a comfortable margin over CBS on Thursday night.

Those wondering about the continuing broadcast ratings declines, the combined adults 18-49 (cable+broadcast) in primetime last night was fractionally higher than it was last Thursday night (37.8 vs. 37.5).

CBS’s The Big Bang Theory drew a 5.0 adults 18-49 rating,  down 10% vs. a season high 5.6 rating last week, but that still beat American Idol in the 8-8:30 half hour vs. Idol’s 4.6 in that half hour).

Idol averaged 16 million viewers last night


FOX American Idol (8-10p) 5.0 13 16.495
CBS The Big Bang Theory 5.0 15 15.524
ABC Wipeout 1.5 4 5.126
NBC 30 Rock 1.4 4 3.604
CW The Vampire Diaries 1.3 4 2.855


CBS Rob 3.2 9 10.905
NBC Parks & Recreation 1.7 5 3.508

9:00PM ABC Grey’s Anatomy 3.1 8 8.126
CBS Person Of Interest 2.9 7 13.246
NBC The Office 2.2 6 4.339
CW The Secret Circle 0.8 2 1.759


NBC Up All Night 1.5 4 3.011


CBS The Mentalist 2.8 7 13.606
ABC Private Practice 2.6 7 7.089
NBC Grimm -R 0.7 2 2.032


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  • Tinawina

    Ratings have been hitting records lows all around this week, I wonder why? It’s so odd. It’s like people just all of a sudden stopped watching TV.

    It’s like a broken record by now. TBBT beats Idol in the first half hour, Idol ties them in the overall rating. Fox wins the night. Wash, rinse, repeat. Heh.

  • Anonymous

    Good ratings for Idol. I’m glad the headline doesn’t say “Idol’s ratings have dropped…” Idol is staying steady. As long as they have a talented & interesting cast which I think will happen I think they will be fine. I’m been more excited for this season after seeing a lot of talented contestants & great personalities.

    I agree for some reason that tv numbers have gone down this week. I have no clue why either.

  • Hazehel

     Good ratings for Idol. I’m glad the headline doesn’t say “Idol’s ratings have dropped…” Idol is staying steady. 

    Not good ratings, and not staying steady.  That’s the lowest ratings Idol had this season, which is a pity because that was a good episode last night.

  • Anonymous

    What’s with all the record lows across the board this week? It’s odd.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch! That’s a whole point lower than The Voice this week. And Wednesday only topped it by .1!

  • Jordan Seltzer

     Down 14% isnt steady.

  • Anonymous

    I also stated that all ratings had gone down this week including The Voice & The Big Bang Theory. So it’s good considering everything is dropping.

    I think it’s steady because I actually expected Idol’s numbers to be around 16-19 million. So it was within my expectations. Even though the episode was good, I never expected it to reach 19 million. I expected numbers to drop last night. Good show, but 50s/60s theme will turn many people off. In Idol history during the top 12, when there are old theme weeks like 50s/60s or standards the ratings do drop. I still expect the ratings for episodes of Idol to be around 16-19 million each week. I don’t expect it to get to 15 million this year. But I do expect the finale to be over 20+ million.

    I was talking about the headline because last week’s headline stated that Idol’s ratings had dropped when it was steady with the previous week. It had just dropped compared to last year’s ratings.

  • Joseph

    You’d be right, but for some reason, all shows are showing record drops this week. I don’t know what the reason is, but there are substantially less television viewers this week than last.

  • Tinawina

    Well we don’t know if people stopped watching during the show until we see the half hour breakdown. I doubt it though. I bet they rose after the first half hour and either kept going up or stayed steady.

    Idol’s chief competition, The Big Bang Theory, also saw a 10% drop from last week with a new episode.

    I think less people watched TV last night period. Perhaps VD weekend date nights have started? Who knows.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not too worried about the ratings this week considering almost all the shows had declines this week.

  • Pam

    One thing to consider as far as the ratings go is that we are in the middle of the ACC tournament which will soon run into March madness for the college teams.  I’m not saying it’s a huge factor or anything but I imagine it chips away at some of the ratings for these shows across the board a little bit.  I actually watched the Miami/Carolina matchup on Wednesday night and came here later to catch up on AI with the vids. 

    Anyhoo, it will be interesting to see what happens with Idol once the show goes live for the performance rounds.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe all of the rest of the TV watchers are taking their kids to baseball practice instead of watching their regular shows, like me?  LOL, sorry, once we hit mid-February, Little League starts to own my life, and I like to imagine the rest of America suffering with me :).

  • Anonymous

    Once the performance rounds come in March, Idol for a couple weeks will be up against March Madness. Unless March Madness ratings are amazing this year, they will be lower than their regular Thursday shows. So Idol can take advantage of this.

  • Tess

    Maybe the Nielsen ratings couldn’t find 4000 willing families to be part of their survey this week…or maybe a bunch of those 4000 families actually watch good stuff on cable….or maybe Nielsen got hacked…or (well the possibilites are endless).

    Since a high percentage of TV watchers now have either cable (at least basic) feed or satellite can’t “big brother” just figure out a way to monitor what everyone is watching.  I am really curous….how many people that really like TV are still working off a network/antenna system (and yup I know its “built in” nowadays).

  • Valentin432

    If you look at the half hour breakdowns:

    8:00 p.m.
    Viewers: 15.02 million (#1), A18-49: 4.6/13 (#2)
    8:30 p.m.
    Viewers: 18.11 million (#1), A18-49: 5.4/15 (#1)
    9:00 p.m.
    Viewers: 16.11 million (#1), A18-49: 4.9/13 (#1)
    9:30 p.m.
    Viewers: 16.74 million (#1), A18-49: 5.2//13 (#1)

    It’s kind of the same pattern we saw yesterday but there’s no show on Thursday that gets close to the ratings of Modern Family.

    I find this really strange since the 9PM slot should have higher ratings

  • Tinawina

    Whoa ptewwong, I apologize… it looks like you might be on to something! Viewership did drop off at 9pm!

    Thanks for posting that Valentin!

  • Tess

    But….in the Central and Mountain Time zone AI starts at 7 and ends at nine.  Granted nobody lives in those zones so they don’t make an impact (said with tons of snark).  Does Nielsen only survey people living on both coasts?

    I guess my legitimate question is why “should” the 9pm time slot get better ratings….is it a proven fact that more people watch TV then, or is there just an assumption that the 18 to 49 watchers have put their kids to bed by then and have time to relax.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so my new theory is that a big bunch of the Nielsen families made a new year’s resolution to go to bed earlier.  Once they all fall off the wagon, we’ll be back to business as usual.  

  • musicality

    I stopped watching Idol. It bores me to tears now. I started watching the Voice instead. I watched The Big Bang Theory

  • Cathy Knott

    I suspect people came in after the Big Bang Theory was over and watched the show for half an hour and then changed the channel and found something else to watch.  A half hour will tell you if a show is worth continuing to watch

  • Tinawina

    It’s a historical trend. Ratings are typically higher at 9pm, especially for a 2 hour show. All shows, not just Idol.

    I think the 9pm is measured in EST, so that means 8pm in Central, etc.

    And to your earlier question, I think it violates some kind of privacy laws to gather data of that sort from cable boxes, though the technology to do it is there. The only thing they can look at is DVR activity.

    ETA: musicality, that would make you art of the ~25% less people people who are watching idol this year. You would not be part of the people who explain last night’s overall drop in ratings or the abnormal watching pattern for AI! :)

  • Anonymous

    I love this. Jimmy Kimmel’s clip for “NCAIS”, a show to help Idol improve its ratings against NCIS on Tuesdays. If I’m the last person to see this, then sorry for posting it again!

  • Landmd

    Very odd ratings this week! Wow even TBBT took a hit!  I have comcast cable and I noticed that for the first time ever (that I know of) AI is on demand!
    The Voice is also on demand. Anyone know if that is counted in the ratings like dvr?

  • Anonymous

    DVR playback statistics are also compiled by Nielsen.  They’re included in something called the Live + 7 rating (or something like that).  That’s a shows rating for live viewers + DVR playbacks for a seven day period.

    From what I’ve heard, cable companies do track some kind of statistical information for on-demand.  But it’s not compiled and shared the way the other info is.  I think it’s just gross numbers for the cable providers benefit.  So yeah, they know how many people are watching on-demand porn, but I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to track who those people are :).  

  • Anonymous

    Live +7 day never counts for what matters though, which is advertisement money. Live+3 day does at most, but advertisers like same day the most.

  • Kariann Hart

    Over here, it is basketball season.  Practice is Thursday/ games are on Saturday.  Baseball starts in mid-April.  I think if word gets out that there are some really good contestants, ratings will increase.  At least I hope so.

  • Tinawina

    Thanks spenserj! That all sounds familiar!

  • Kylee

    Last night was a really good episode, so hopefully some positive buzz can get out.

  • Pam

    Here are last night’s final adjusted ratings from tvbythenumbers.

    Lots of  one tenth adjustments up and down with adults 18-49 vs. the Thursday preliminary numbers.

    Up a tenth:  American Idol, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory Grey’s Anatomy, The Office and The Vampire Diaries.

    Down a tenth: Person Of Interest, The Mentalist, The Secret Circle, Grimm repeat

    8:00PM FOX American Idol (8-10p) 5.1 14 16.710

  • DoesMonaKnow

    Maybe two hours of 1950s and 1960s music wasn’t the best way to capture younger viewers. Nigel was on Twitter practically proud that one of the songs was first performed in some 1930s movie. In Idol’s heyday they could put on two hours of anything and get 30 million viewers but those days are gone.

  • MikhailXO

    I didn’t find it all that good. I think Idol needs to keep working hard (harder) at maintaing a viewing audience. I doubt music form the 50’s and 60’s will do that for them.

  • Kylee

    Well the majority did, which is important as far as buzz goes. Obviously not everybody will be impressed, but that’s the nature of anything. You can’t please everybody at once.

  • Anonymous

     It could be related to V-Day.  Now that it’s over, the singles get back to mingling with people they met on a dating site.