The Chicago Tribune has compiled American Idol‘s ratings over all six seasons [PDF] into an incredibly informative graph that illustrates the show’s ratings share–“the percentage of television households tuning into the program”–as reported by Nielsen.
Most interesting is that, despite its ratings slide, American Idol 6 did not have a middle-of-the-season slump like every other season did; some of that may be the result of the Hollywood round being compressed into one night, or it may have been due to interest in the show caused by Antonella and Sanjaya.
What’s most obvious is that ratings have slid consistently this season for the Tuesday performance show, declining to season three and four levels. The results shows, however, have stayed relatively consistent with last year’s numbers.
Responding to the numbers, and stories about the numbers, FOX VP Preston Beckman tells the Tribune that reports about the show’s decreasing ratings “are [part of] the propaganda wars. … It’s very, very important for these other networks to make the case that ‘American Idol’ is starting to fade.” He cites DVR usage as the reason for the lower ratings, which is almost as funny as the daylight savings time excuse.