American Idol ratings hit a series low last week, dropping to a 1.4 in the desirable 18-49 demographic. Even when head to head competition with The Voice was no longer a threat (the rival show aired a special results show at 8 pm) the numbers stayed flat this week.
Once the highly rated FOX show, Empire left the Wednesday night lineup, the show began to falter. The Wrap notes, however, that Idol is still ahead of the final season of the cancelled X Factor.
Heading into this week the two regular editions of “Idol” were averaging a combined 2.9 rating in the key 18-49 demographic and 11.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s most current ratings, which include Live Plus 7 Day numbers where available.
The final season of “The X Factor” in 2013-14 on its two regular nights combined to average a 2.2 in the demo and had 7.0 million viewers overall, which is fully L7. That means “Idol” is still 32 percent ahead of “X Factor” in the main demo. In total viewers, the percentage disparity is nearly twice that.
Currently, Idol is doing worse in the demo than the ill-fated Utopia, which averaged a 1.7 18-49 demo rating and 3.9 million total viewers. The Friday broadcast of the show had a predictably smaller 1.0 rating and 2.5 million viewers.
The Wrap points out that Idol is still doing OK compared to other FOX shows, with ratings that are still well above the fourth-place network’s season-to-date primetime average of a 2.0 demo rating with 6 million total viewers.
Also noted: American Idol still commands one of the higher ad rates on television. X Factor finished on that list at No. 62 while American Idol managed to make it into the Top 25.
FOX has been forced to cut expenses while ratings have declined. The show used to represent 55+ hours on the FOX schedule. Today, with the show currently running once a week, Idol has aired 31 hours. At this time last season the number was at 40.5.
Insiders have told The Wrap that cutting the summer tour from 10 contestants to 5 was a cost cutting measure due to low interest and poor ticket sales.
But Jason Morey of 19 Entertainment insists it was a creative decision. “While we are always conscious of costs, the reason for the change from 10 to 5 was to allow our top 5 more time to present their music and stories.” said Morey. “With 10 contestants, performance time was always an issue. We also want our top 5 to have the latitude to talk more about their experiences on the show and showcase their artistry.” Yeah…right.
The question now is: How long will the benefits of airing Idol outweigh the expenses of continuing to produce the show? For instance, Idol lost Coca Cola as a sponsor this year (and AT&T the year before). What if Ford decides to leave the fold?
Nevertheless, according to insiders, Idol is safe from cancellation at the moment. Negotiations for the future of the show are ongoing. Sources say a Season 15 renewal feels more like a formality at this point.
Via The Wrap