American Idol Ratings: Down 23% from Last Year

ETA: ABC is blaming St Patrick’s Day for poor ratings last night saying that overall TV usage was down last night compared to the week before.

Here are your Nielsen fast overnight ratings from Marc Berman:

-Ratings Breakdown:
Yes, Fox dominated, and that comes as a result, of course, of American Idol, which averaged 21.54 million viewers and an 8.0 rating/22 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. But as good as that is, it is actually down by a hefty 5.80 million viewers and 23 percent among adults 18-49 from the also two-hour year-ago telecast on March 18, 2008 (Viewers: 27.34 million; A18-49: 10.4/26, based on the final nationals). Here is the half-hour breakdown:

American Idol (Fox)
8:00 p.m. ‘ Viewers: 19.06 million (#1), A18-49: 6.9/21 (#1)
8:30 p.m. ‘ Viewers: 21.77 million (#1), A18-49: 8.0/22 (#1)
9:00 p.m. ‘ Viewers: 22.64 million (#1), A18-49: 8.5/22 (#1)
9:30 p.m. ‘ Viewers: 22.67 million (#1), A18-49: 8.7/22 (#1)

Holy Moly. 21.5 million people tuned in for a performance show? Down 23% from last year? Yikes.

TPTB were hoping that re-introducing the Top 36 and wildcard format back into the show would keep viewers from getting tired of the same contestants every week and tuning out.

That plan doesn’t seem to be working, because the numbers are down from last week’s inaugural performance show, at 25.24 million viewers and a 9.2 rating/24 share among adults 18-49.

The producers have argued that the ratings loss would have been worse if they hadn’t made the changes.   But I wonder if Idol audiences are feeling disconnected from this bunch.

It’s difficult to get tired of contestants when there hasn’t been an opportunity to get to know them in the first place.

As a comparison, Dancing with the Stars experienced its largest ever season premier audience last week. And Monday’s DWTS scored 21.08 million viewers and a 5.3 rating/14 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m, running neck in neck with Idol.

In its 8th season, Dancing with the Stars premiered in 2005, and is getting a little long in the tooth as well, but is somehow managing to improve its ratings…

About mj santilli 34693 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!