American Idol keeps its audience without Paula Abdul, adds viewers 18 to 34

After losing viewers every year, American Idol returned last night with about the same number of viewers who tuned in to the first episode last season.

The episode averaged 29.7985 million viewers over its two hours, starting around 25 million and peaking with 32.3 million in the 9:00 half-hour. That’s down slightly from the 30.074 million who watched Kara DioGuardi’s debut a year ago. TV By the Numbers reports that the episode was “right in line with last year’s premiere performance” among total viewers and those 18 to 49, but “was as up +8% versus last year’s Tuesday premiere among Adults 18-34.”

Against Fox’s behemoth, TV By the Numbers notes that “NCIS ratings (and CBS as a whole) held up surprisingly well, while NBC’s Biggest Loser and the entire ABC line up ratings suffered.”

TV Ratings Tuesday: American Idol Premiere Steady; NCIS Holds Up; Conan’s Tonight Show Soars [TV By the Numbers]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.