8:05am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'American Idol' Falls 22 Percent to Premiere Low
It's that time of year again. American Idol returned to Fox on Wednesday night, with as much attention fixed on the new judges panel as how this latest retooling might help stem several years of steep ratings losses.
The verdict is in, and final returns have American Idol premiering its 13th season to an average 4.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 15.2 million viewers. That's 22 from last year's opener in the key demo -- which brought a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49 and just a shade over 17.9 million viewers.
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The 13th season of American Idol sees judge Jennifer Lopez returning and Harry Connick Jr. joining the panel after last year's reboot with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey failed to improve viewership.
In Idol's corner, it was up 31 percent from last year's finale (3.6 adults). And the series gave Fox the highest-rated non-sports night of the season -- excluding sports and the Golden Globes.
CBS won the race for second place with a steady episode of Criminal Minds (2.4 adults) and an improved CSI (2.0 adults) -- up two-tenths of a point from its last original. The network took a 1.9 rating with adults 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers.
The Middle (1.8 adults) took a hit with the Idol competition, falling four-tenths of a point from last week. Compared to last season, Suburgatory (1.6 adults) dropped a whopping 1.2 points in its premiere. Modern Family (3.2 adults) fell three-tenths and Super Fun Night (1.6 adults) and Nashville (1.3 adults) both dropped a tenth. ABC averaged a 1.8 rating with adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers.
Revolution (1.3 adults) dropped two-tenths of NBC, and Law & Order: SVU (1.5 adults) shed six-tenths of a point from last week's lift. Chicago P.D. (1.5 adults), in its second outing, dropped a half of a point. NBC averaged 1.4 and 5.3 million viewers.
On the CW, Arrow (0.9 adults) was down two-tenths of a point from its last new outing, but The Tomorrow People (0.6 adults) improved a tenth. The CW took a 0.8 adults rating and 2 million viewers.