By Tim Molloy
(TheWrap) — “American Idol,” the nation’s perennially top rated show, was down 27 percent from last season’s premiere in its return to the Fox schedule Wednesday, according to preliminary numbers.
The show was still by far the most-watched of the night, earning a 7.2 rating and 18 share in the 18-49 demographic. That was 3 percent better than the other networks combined.
Last season’s premiere ratings were helped by intense curiosity about how Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would fare as the show’s brand-new judges.
With “Idol” dominating the ratings — and pushing Fox to the top-rated and most-watched position for the night — most other programming for the night suffered at least modest decreases, most prominently NBC. “Whitney” at 8 dropped 20 percent in the demo compared to last week, taking a 1.6/5 and 4.3 million total viewers, while “Are You There, Chelsea?” slipped 22 percent from its premiere last week, receiving a 1.8/4. (The show drew 4.2 million total viewers.) “Harry’s Law” at 9 tied its series low with a 1.1/3 in the demo and 6.4 million total viewers, while “Law & Order: SVU” closed the night with a 10 percent decline to hit a series low in the demo with a 1.8/5, and receiving 6.4 million total viewers.
ABC began the night with “The Middle” at 8, which dropped 10 percent to a 2.6/7 in the demo and 8.1 million total viewers, while “Suburgatory” hit a season low with a 14 percent drop in the demo compared to last week, taking a 2.5/6 and 7 million total viewers. “Modern Family” at 9 posted a 5.0/12 in the demo and drew 11.8 million total viewers, followed by “Happy Endings” at 9:30, which received a 2.9/7 in the demo and 6.2 million total viewers. “Revenge” at 10 enjoyed a modest increase over last week, rising to a 2.5/6 in the demo and 7.5 million total viewers.
CBS ran an “NCIS” repeat at 8, with “Criminal Minds” the following hour receiving a 3.2/8 in the demo and 12.8 million total viewers. “CSI” at 10 posted a 2.8/7 in the demo and drew 11.8 million total viewers.