American Idol 7 debut watched by 33.2 million viewers, the lowest-rated debut since 2004

Despite the writers’ strike, American Idol 7 debuted with about 10 percent fewer viewers than watched last year’s debut. Still, 33.2 million people tuned in, easily keeping it as the most-popular show in the known universe.

The number of people watching “rose steadily throughout its two-hour premiere with 28.7 million viewers at 8 p.m. jumping to 35.9 million by 9:30 p.m.,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show was watched by twice as many people ages 18 to 49 as ABC, CBS, and NBC had combined, and “made for the highest-rated night of the season on any net, outperforming last Saturday’s NFL playoff game on CBS between New England and Jacksonville,” Variety reports.

Still, this is the lowest-rated debut since American Idol 3 in 2004, when 28 million watched. Last year, 37.3 million viewers watched the first episode, compared to 35.5 million for season five and 33.6 million for season four.

As to the declining ratings, Variety says that the show “was down 13% vs. last year’s opener (15.8/36 in 18-49, 37.4 million viewers overall), but it’s worth noting that ‘Idol’ traditionally rises a few ticks in the nationals, meaning its year-to-year falloff will come in closer to 10%. Also, DVRs are in about 10% more homes than this time last year,” which means those numbers could increase.

In addition, other networks performed better against the FOX show than they have in the past, although they still, obviously, were far behind. NBC’s ratings were “58% over what NBC delivered opposite ‘Idol’ a year ago,” while The CW “produced a 40% gain from last year’s showing with a pair of repeats opposite the ‘Idol’ premiere,” Variety reports. ABC, however, was “down 39% year to year.”

‘Idol’ down but hardly out [Variety]
‘Idol’ hands Fox another win [The Hollywood Reporter]

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.