There was a bit of good news/ bad news for "American Idol" on Friday morning (January 21). When the ratings came in for Thursday night's second audition episode of season 10, the numbers were once again down from last year, but on its new night, the show also notched the highest Thursday night ratings in more than 15 years for the Fox network.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that the show averaged 22.9 million viewers and a 7.8 rating in the crucial 18-49 demographic, easily winning the night and more than doubling the numbers put up by the next-highest-rated show, NBC's "The Office" (8.3 million viewers, 4.5 rating).
The show was down 9 percent overall among total viewers and down 15 percent in the 18-49 demo compared to the first hour of Wednesday night's season premiere. It also took a dive from last season's second audition show, which rang up 26.4 million viewers and a 10 rating in the demo. The show moved back a night this year, switching from its Tuesday/Wednesday schedule, where it faced less competition, to Wednesday/Thursday this year. Overall, the first two shows are down 12 percent from last year's opening episodes.
Another good sign is that "Idol" beat CBS' "Big Bang Theory," one of the leading comedies on TV, which still put up strong numbers (13.6 million viewers/4.2 share). The other positive is that the move to Thursday gave Fox its highest-rated night of regular programming since 1995.
While ratings have slid, so far audience and expert reaction to the new judging panel has been mostly positive and bodes well for greater tune-in once the show goes live in the first week of March.
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