American Idol Ratings Down, Still Huge

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The seventh season of Fox’s “American Idol” opened Tuesday night to monster ratings, although down a little more than 10% vs. its record premiere of a year ago, reports Variety.

Kicking off the auditions round, “Idol” averaged a 13.8 rating/32 share in adults 18-49 and 33.2 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m. — drawing double the combined demographic delivery in the time period of ABC, CBS and NBC. It also made for the highest-rated night of the season on any network, outperforming last Saturday’s NFL playoff game on CBS between New England and Jacksonville (11.1/31 in 18-49, 30 million viewers overall).

“Idol” comes in as easily the highest-rated entertainment telecast of the season among adults 18-48, a big 55% larger than the runner-up “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.9/21 for its premiere on ABC last September).

Premiere night of “Idol” was down 13% vs. last year’s opener (15.8/36 in 18-49, 37.4 million viewers overall), but it’s worth noting that “Idol” traditionally rises a few ticks in the nationals, meaning its year-to-year falloff will come in closer to 10%. Also, DVRs are in about 10% more homes than this time last year, so some audiences may be opting to watch the show on their own timetable.