January 19, 2012 8:40am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'American Idol' Takes 27 Percent Hit During Season 11 Premiere
Not unexpectedly, American Idol dipped significantly with its Season 11 premiere.
The series pulled a 7.2 rating among adults 18-49, marking a 27 percent drop over last January's premiere. The veteran reality series still gave Fox a significant lead over all other networks, topping closest competition (ABC) by 140 percent.
Idol's drop among total viewers wasn't as steep. The two-hour broadcast drew 21.6 million, down 18 percent from the Season 10 premiere of 26.25 million.
ABC's comedy block was all down from its recent week without Idol competition, though the opening at 10:00 p.m. did leave room for a 4 percent jump for Revenge, which nabbed a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. The Middle dropped 12 percent to a 2.6 in adults 18-49, followed by similarly down Suburgatory (2.5) and Modern Family (5.0), all three of which tied season lows. Happy Endings only dropped 3 percent to a 2.9 in the demo. ABC averaged a 3.0 among adults 18-49 for the night, with 8.1 million viewers.
A repeat of NCIS started CBS off to a slow start, with both Criminal Minds and CSI dropping from previous originals. Criminal Minds hit a season low of a 3.2 among adults 18-49, with CSI down 3 percent to a 2.8 in the demo after a five-week hiatus. The net averaged 11.2 million viewers and a 2.5 in adults 18-49.
NBC seemed to suffer the most from the return of American Idol. After officially moving to Wednesdays last week, Whitney dropped 20 percent for a series low, a 1.6 among adults 18-49. The sophomore outing of Are You There, Chelsea? also took a 22 percent hit for a 1.8 in the demo. Harry's Law hit a 1.1, tying its series low, with Law & Order fell 10 percent for a new series low of a 1.8 in adults 18-49. The network averaged a 1.5 rating and 5.7 million viewers for the night.
One Tree Hill dropped 22 percent from last week's premiere of its final season for a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49. Adding an encore of the already ailing Remodeled (a 0.3 rating) and the CW averaged a 0.5 for the night.
Wednesday, Jan. 18, Overnight Ratings:
Fox: American Idol (21.3 million viewers, 6.9 rating among adults 18-49)
ABC: The Middle (8.2 million, 2.6)
NBC: Whitney (4.3 million, 1.6)
CBS: NCIS (R) (9.1 million, 1.5)
The CW: One Tree Hill (1.5 million, 0.7)
ABC: Suburgatory (7.0 million, 2.5)
NBC: Are You There Chelsea? (4.3 million, 1.8)
FOX: American Idol (21.95 million, 7.5)
ABC: Modern Family (11.8 million, 5.0)
CBS: Criminal Minds (12.8 million, 3.2)
NBC: Harry's Law (6.4 million, 1.1)
The CW: Remodeled (R) (605,000, 0.3)
ABC: Happy Endings (6.2 million, 2.9)
CBS: CSI (11.8 million, 2.8)
ABC: Revenge (7.6 million, 2.5)
NBC: Law & Order: SVU (6.4 million, 1.8)