Home Celebrity Is American Idol Having Real Ratings Trouble? Yes

“American Idol” is still a powerhouse show for Fox, but last night’s ratings surprised me. The show is trending down, down, down without Simon Cowell snarking around in the background. Last night’s show, according to tvbythenumbers.com, was down 4% from last Wednesday, and 21% from last season’s fifth Tuesday (10.2 rating). The experts at that site report that Idol’s 8pm hour was down 14% (7.2 rating vs. 8.4 rating) vs. last Wednesday’s one hour episode. Tonight’s show, if it follows the trend, will be way off from last night. Last week, for example, “Idol” did well on Wednesday, but collapsed on Thursday.

You can’t fault Randy, Steven Tyler or even Jennifer Lopez, because the show is aging, and people aren’t as devoted to as they once were. But still, adding the new judges were supposed to invigorate ratings, not reverse them.

Also, the show is supposed to grow in interest as the weeks go by. This is not a good sign. Is it the crop of contestants? Maybe. I do feel as though any time one of them tells a sob story to Tyler and Lopez they’re automatically invited in. Simon would have been harder on these people.

One “Idol” source I spoke to confirmed my fears. “They did Hollywood Week a week early this year because they were nervous. It didn’t work. There was a 7 million fall off from last year. ”

Can “Idol” come back? As a fan, I must say I’m going to pay more attention now to what’s happening ratings-wise. With Cowell’s “X Factor” looming out there–and new rumors of Paula Abdul joining that show–suddenly there’s a lot at stake.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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