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]

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.

Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.