‘American Idol’ Season Opener Marks Its Lowest-Rated Premiere Ever

by | January 17, 2013 at 1:59 PM | American Idol

The New Faces of "American Idol": Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj (FOX)

Looks like the idle drama surrounding “American Idol” was much ado for nothing — the debut of new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban failed to boost the show’s ratings.

The Season 12 premiere was down 19% from a year ago, taking a hit in both total viewers and the adults 18-49 demo.

Wednesday’s “Idol” drew 17.9 million viewers and a 6.0 rating in the key demo, making it the lowest-rated premiere since the show’s 2002 summer debut. That’s down four million from last season’s premiere with 21.9 million viewers, and, as Vulture notes, the decline is even more dramatic when you consider that just two years, the 2010 premiere scored nearly 30 million viewers.

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“American Idol”

Those numbers were good enough for FOX to win Wednesday night overall, however, so that’s a plus. Still, the network is likely disappointed, albeit not surprised, that “Idol” continues creeping downward each season, despite aggressive (and expensive) attempts to reinvigorate the show in the post-Simon Cowell era with the revolving celebrity judges.

“American Idol” Premiere Recap: A New Era Begins, Did the Judges Gel?