American Idol 4 debuts with 33.6 million viewers, FOX’s third biggest night ever.

American Idol 4 debuts with 33.6 million viewers, FOX’s third biggest night ever.
The third most watched evening in FOX history was Tuesday night, as the network’s debut of American Idol 4 was watched by 54 million, who tuned in at some point, and an average of 33.6 million viewers overall. That’s “only 4 million short of the most watched ‘Idol’ episode ever, the second-edition finale in May 2003, when Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken,” according to the Washington Post. The two-hour episode was also “the most watched TV broadcast since the ‘Friends’ finale in May and the most watched season debut since that of ‘Friends’ in 2002.” And finally, it was “Fox’s third most watched night of entertainment programming”; the only two evenings that have done better are the American Idol 2 finale and the finale of Joe Millionaire. FOX President Gail Berman, who’d previously suggested that ratings could slide again this season, as they did last season, said, “I wasn’t trying to manage expectations. No one in their right mind would have predicted a 9 percent increase. I’ve never seen numbers like this. I’m stunned–we are all stunned. I can’t process these numbers.”

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.