American Idol 5 debut watched by 35.5 million people, the most ever

An average of 35.5 million people watched the two-hour debut of American Idol 5 last night, a six percent increase from last year’s debut and series high.

Those numbers “propelled Fox to a historic night, its highest ratings ever for entertainment programming in total viewers and, among adults 18-49, second only to the Joe Millionaire finale on Feb. 17, 2003,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

At 9 p.m., 38.7 million people were watching, according to fast overnight ratings. Final numbers will be released later today.

Fox skyrockets Tuesday with ‘Idol’ premiere [Hollywood Reporter]

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.