Things are tough all over. On the heels of a season of "The X Factor" considered to be a ratings disappointment, "American Idol" returned last night to a noticable decline in audience itself.
The Wednesday Season 12 premiere clocked in at a 19 percent decline in its adult 18-49 demographic, averaging 17.8 million viewers compared to last season's premiere of 21.9 million viewers (itself a 24 percent decline from the previous season). Despite the decline, the numbers were enough for Fox to handily win the night, prompting relief from Fox reality chief Mike Darnell.
"The numbers were exactly our expectations," he says. "Everything [on broadcast] is down; it could have been worse. It’s still standing very tall considering the competitiveness."
Darnell points to the sparks that will ignite into a full-blown feud between judges Minaj and Carey as something unique that he believes will draw viewers in as the season progresses. "People said the passion between the two girls was invented," the Fox reality chief said. "It’s obviously real. That’s an interesting dynamic that we haven’t seen on one of these [singing competition] shows before... All I can say is that tonight things get even more interesting."
Overall, Darnell credits the new dynamic of the judges panel with bringing in positive reviews from viewers. "There’s several things that make me relieved more than worried," Darnell says. "There’s a new dynamic on our panel that people seem to really like...not to mention we got some really good talent coming. I think we’re going to cut the [ratings] deficit over time."