FOX’s “American Idol” ratings dipped; Revamp next season


Next season ‘American Idol’ the Tuesday night competition show will be expanded to 90 minutes and Wednesday’s results show will be cut down to 30 minutes. First let’s look see front the recent upfront presentation by Fox:

RBR-TVBR’s editor at large Shari Anne Brill was at Fox’s upfront presentation and was as usual dramatic. Outside the Beacon Theatre, the venue for Fox’s primetime announcement, buyers and advertisers were surrounded by giant helium balloons promoting FOX shows.  Much to the amusement of attendees who recalled seeing them earlier that day was NBC’s painted taxi fleet making their way up Broadway.

Fox has plenty to brag about. The network has won the Adult 18-49 demographic for six straight seasons and has had its first fourth quarter victory in the demographic group.
Regarding next season’s cycle of the top-ranked American Idol, there will be some modifications based on viewer feedback. Next season the Tuesday night competition show will be expanded to 90 minutes and Wednesday’s results show will be cut down to 30 minutes.

While many believe that the departure of judge Simon Cowell is a major event, Reilly adds there is “a huge, huge swath of viewers that are very happy with it.”  Further Cowell will be getting a proper sendoff during the show’s finale.  His new show X-Factor gets underway in fall 2011.
Even if Idol drops another 10% in audience following the departure of Cowell, it will still be the top-ranked show in Adults 18-49. At the time of this writing, there is no announcement regarding a replacement for Cowell. I expect that news regarding the new Idol judge will be announced during the upcoming summer TCA tour.

Simon Cowell made his final appearance this week, 5/27, his farewell to American Idol, which has been a big piece of his life and career fame for nine seasons.

The ratings however have been dropping and sank to its lowest rated finale todate. The two-hour show, which crowned Lee DeWyze, featuring a number of stars including former judge Paula Abdul who will have her own show on CBS next season, according to Nielsen ratings was viewed by over 24 million viewers, ratings below for the finale.

But the drop in Idol’s ratings started in 2007, when that finale hit 30.7 million viewers. Last year’s finale came in at a little over 28 million compared to 2008’s at over 31million.

AMERICAN IDOL on Sunday the Finale ratings:
* The Top 2 finalists on AMERICAN IDOL posted a 6.6/19 among Adults 18-49, on par with last week (and likely to go up in the finals) among Adults 18-49, up by +26% among Teens and +5% in Total Viewers.
* AMERICAN IDOL dominated its 8p hour among Adults 18-49, Total Viewers, Adults 18-34, Teens and all key demos, showing advantages +100% among Adults 18-49, +78% among Adults 18-34, +132% among Teens and +23% in Total Viewers over its nearest competitors.
* So far this season (Most Current ratings vs comparable Most Current), AMERICAN IDOL shows 91% retention among Adults 18-49, 91% among Adults 18-34, 92% among Teens and 92% in Total Viewers.

RBR-TVBR observation: American Idol has the brand and has a strong loyal following. When change happens it usually happens for the best. The producers of American Idol knew well in advance the Cowell was leaving and you can bet they are prepared for next season. When Paula Abdul over money issue and replaced by Ellen DeGeneres it did not stop ‘Idol’ from delivering strong ratings.

Key, the audience may have their favorite judges but the viewers are watching because of the content of the contestants and this is the key to ‘Idol’s’ success. People have their favorites they want to win just like any reality show. Example: CBS’s ‘Survivor’ they show roles and people love to their favorites that is why it is called ‘Reality’ programming.