American Idol returned to the air last night, winning the night handily but continuing the show’s long slide from phenomenon to mere mortal status. The two-hour premiere last night averaged a 6.0 adult 18-49 rating from 8-10 pm, down 19% from last year’s premiere (7.4 rating) and down 38% from the 2011 premiere (9.7 rating).
Next week will probably drop between half a rating point and a full point, given past patterns for the show. So Idol could be a 5.4 next week and into the mid- to high-4 rating zone by late February.
American Idol Wednesday Episode Rating Track (First Six Weeks — Adults 18-49)
ABC was a decent second place (2.6 rating from 8-11 pm last night, down only one tenth from last Wednesday despite the increased competition from FOX).The comedies were down slightly from last week, but Nashville was up a tenth to a 2.2 rating, its best rating since the 2.8 premiere.
CBS was a weak third (2.1 rating from 8-11 pm), far below the 2.7 nightly average for most of the fall. The big difference is 8 pm, which is basically dead until Survivor returns. (Last night an NCIS repeat at 8 limped to a 1.1 rating, well under the high-2 rating Survivor averages.)
The CW stepped into fourth place with a 1.0 rating for its solid (for them) lineup of Arrow (1.1) and Supernatural (0.9).
NBC took the night off an averaged a 0.8 rating for an all-repeat line-up. The 10 pm Chicago Fire repeat in particular (1.0) opened the door for ABC and Nashville to get back above a 2 rating.
Preliminary ratings are delayed by Nielsen until at least 9:30 am PT (90 minutes past due). The ratings service is performing extra “quality checks,” so be prepared for unusually high quality ratings later this morning!
The Sked: WEDNESDAY Ratings
Wednesday fast national ratings and relevant comparisons: