TV Ratings: ‘American Idol’ premiere drops, dominates for FOX Wednesday

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, January 19, 2011.
The premiere of the 10th season of FOX’s “American Idol” declined significantly from last year (and from all recent launches), but the talent show still dominated the Wednesday ratings in all measures.
We’ll do the normal breakdown in a second, but “American Idol” averaged 26.06 million viewers in primetime along with a 9.7 rating among adults 18-49. Last year’s premiere delivered 29.8 million viewers and an 11.7 rating in the key demo in Fast Nationals, facing tougher competition from CBS’ Tuesday lineup.
For the night, FOX’s 26.06 million viewers and a  14.1 rating/22 share. CBS was a distant second with a 6.2/10 and 9.88 million viewers. ABC’s 4.5/7 and 7.4 million viewers and NBC’s 3.4/5 and 5.435 million viewers followed. The CW was fifth with a 0.8/1 and 1.2 million viewers.
Among adults 18-49, FOX’s 9.7 rating was miles ahead of the 2.7 rating for ABC, CBS’ 1.6 rating and NBC’s 1.6 rating. The CW was last in the key demo with a 0.4 rating.
8 p.m. – The first hour of “American Idol” gave FOX an estimated 24.98 million viewers and a 9.1 rating among adults 18-49. “Idol” took a big bite out of ABC’s “The Middle” and “Better with You,” which averaged 7.78 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating after cresting in recent weeks. “Idol” completely crushed old friend Paula Abdul, whose “Live to Dance” was down to 5.32 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating. NBC’s “Minute to Win It” was fourth overall with 5.08 million viewers, but beat CBS in the demo. A repeat of “Nikita” gave The CW 1.58 million viewers.
9 p.m. – The second hour of the “Idol” premiere always goes up and FOX should be pleased that viewers didn’t flip away from the Steven Tyler/Jennifer Lopez experience, which rose to 27.14 million viewers and a 10.3 demo rating. CBS’ “Criminal Minds” was second overall with 12.13 million viewers and third in the demo. ABC’s “Modern Family” (11.1 million and a 4.6 demo rating) was steady against “Idol,” but “Cougar Town” dipped to 6.08 million viewers and a 2.5 demo rating. NBC’s “Chase” continued to flounder on Wednesdays with 4.34 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating. The CW was fifth with a “Hellcats” review.
10 p.m. – CBS won the 10 p.m. hour overall with the 12.18 million viewers for “Blue Bloods,” which finished third in the demo. Although “Blue Bloods” performed better overall than “The Defenders” in the slot, the numbers weren’t appreciably improved from its Friday performances. NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” had a sluggish 6.89 million viewers, but won the hour with a 2.3 demo rating. ABC’s “Off the Map” averaged 5.84 million viewers and a 2.1 demo rating.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.

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