From Tuesday to Wednesday, about three million viewers fled American Idol 7. The second episode was watched by 30.3 million viewers, down from 33.2 million its first night.
Still, that’s just about the same number of people who watched all other networks combined, according to Variety, and even if Fox’s show has peaked and is now sliding, it continues to dominate. NBC’s Deal or No Deal had the second highest number of viewers Wednesday night, and with 11.8 million, that’s just over a third of its Fox rival. Overall, though, Idol was down “9% from Tuesday’s season premiere and 19% from its first Wednesday edition of last season.”
Fox executive Mike Darnell told Variety that the lower ratings don’t matter. “My only expectation this year was that it would be huge again and be the biggest thing in TV. I look at those numbers and still can’t believe I can wake up in the seventh season of a TV show and see it do 12 million more viewers than the show next to it. There’s ‘Idol,’ and then there’s the rest of TV. I can’t look at it any other way,” he said. “This show has defied gravity for so long. After six years of being up every year, it’s almost like it’s a meaningless drop. It’s such a juggernaut at this level that no one will ever want to compete with it.”