‘Idol’ Ratings Sink to New Low, Show Overruns Not Helping

Harry Connick Jr., Ryan Seacrest (Photo: Fox)

Harry Connick Jr., Ryan Seacrest (Photo: Fox)

American Idol‘s journey this season has been a tough road.

Not only have the ratings been slipping, but sloppy running times have infuriated DVR viewers.

The Fox show formerly known as a ratings giant is coming back down to Earth, experiencing its lowest ratings since its first summer season.

‘Idol’ had a 6.0 rating Tuesday night — in the important demo of 18 to 49-year old viewers — down from an 8.3 rating from one year ago, according to Media Decoder.

‘Idol’ dropped 13 percent week-to-week to 17.1 million viewers, trailing behind ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ which had 19.6 million viewers on Monday.

‘Idol’ has reigned as the No. 1 show for the last nine years, but it looks like times are a changing.

Check Out the ‘Eye on Idol’ Blog Here

‘Idol’ is facing many battles this season, from a weak lineup to a domineering Seacrest to a revolving judges’ door, but one problem they shouldn’t have is knowing when the show is over. No, I don’t mean the series itself, (although that may be something they should start looking at), I mean when to end each episode.

For the past three weeks, the show has exceeded its run time, busting into ‘Glee’ territory, and infringing on Fox’s other hit musical show, causing scenes to be cutoff. Viewers have been livid.


It first happened with the highly touted Madonna episode, when ‘Glee’ DVR viewers discovered the end of the episode was cut off as a result of ‘Idol’ running long.

It happened again the following week, with ‘Idol’ running into ‘Glee’s April 28th episode featuring Kristin Chenowith. And this week’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ episode was … momentarily eclipsed.

Have ‘idol’ producers not learned how to run their show after nearly a decade on the air? What’s most maddening for fans is that the episodes are full of filler-tainment to begin with.

The irony should not be lost either that aging ‘Idol’ is stepping on the toes of the new darlings, the ‘Gleeks,’ a Fox’s former ‘It’ show vs. Fox’s new ‘It’ show.

TV critic Alan Sepinwall of HitFix tells Fancast that ‘Idol’ could see backlash from their mismanagement of time.

“The ‘Idol’ running time problem may ultimately hurt ‘Idol’ more than ‘Glee,'” Sepinwall says. “While the ‘Idol’ ratings are still much bigger than what ‘Glee’ is doing, it wouldn’t stun me if the overlap were to shrink a little. You may see ‘Glee’ fans decide they’re not going to keep watching “Idol” so long as it’s hurting their new favorite show.”

Indeed, some outraged viewers are thinking of bailing on ‘Idol’ as a result: “I’m thinking about shunning American Idol for good now,” writes one fan at EW, adding, “bad enough they have the worst season in their 9 years, but they continue to have no idea how to run and manage a show to end on time.”

Find out what happened on Wednesday’s results show.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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