There were as many losers as winners during the Olympics this month. But the real loser may have been “American Idol.” Back on February 5th, “Idol” had hopeful if much diminished ratings before the Olympics started. They had a 3.9 share in the key demo and over 13 million viewers.

But then the games started and the ratings slid. The thinking was they’d come back once the skiiers, skaters, and snowboarders left Sochi. Alas, last night’s “Idol” ratings were dismal: a 2.6 rating and just over 10 million viewers. Three million total viewers, including a million between 18 and 49, may not be coming back.

Of course, “Idol” is now acknowledged by Fox to be a different kind of show. Fox execs said it was “winding down.” But a permanent drop off after the Olympics may cause real worry for fans. Let’s see if tonight’s show can gin up some more enthusiasm. Fox killed off “X Factor” quickly rather than perform triage. They may decide to do the same thing here.

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