American Idol Still on Top, Despite 11% Ratings Decrease From Last Year

Last night’s overnights are in, preliminary Nielsen ratings show the  AI premiere dipping 11% from last year.   The show averaged a considerable 16.4 rating/24 share in the overnights from 8-10 p.m and excluding the 9 p.m. half-hour, American Idol beat the four competing networks combined. One year earlier, Idol averaged an 18.4/27 in the overnights on January 20, 2010.  (Via Marc Berman, Mediaweek)

Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance took a hit, with a third-place 3.7/ 6 in the overnights at 8 p.m. Ouch!

I’ll update this post with viewer totals once those numbers are in.

UPDATE: From James Hibberd:

Idol drew 26.1 million viewers, down 13%. Among the key adult demo, the show earned a 9.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, down 18% from 2010?s opener. The largest declines were among younger viewers, with teen viewership down 28%.

The 18-49 drop represents the lowest-rated premiere for Idol since its 2002 summer debut, and the biggest drop ever for the show between seasons. Runner up goes to 2009, when the show fell 15% (when the national ratings come in shortly, Idol numbers may climb and narrow this gap).

Thanks Elliegirl!

After the jump, check out comparative numbers from past Idol seasons, via TVByTheNumbers

Here are the season average American Idol ratings for historical comparisons (all Live+Same Day Adults 18-49 ratings)

  • 2009-10: Tues 8.3 (9% decline), Wed 7.7 (16% decline)
  • 2008-9: Tues 9.1 (12% decline), Wed 9.2 (14% decline)
  • 2007-8: Tues 10.7 (9% decline), Wed 10.3 (14% decline)
  • 2006-7: Tues 11.7, Wed 12.0
About mj santilli 34841 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!