american-idol-S11-premiere.jpgFast national ratings for Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

“American Idol,” while still the top program of the night, saw a 17% drop in total viewers over the Season 10 debut a year ago. It averaged 21.6 million viewers over its two-hour premiere, in contrast to Season 10’s 26.1 million. Season 11 was down 28% over its Season 9 debut. It was the biggest drop the show has ever had between season premieres, which have been declining in numbers since the highest-rated premiere in Season 6.

FOX won the night easily, with 21.6 million viewers and a 12.2 rating/19 share in households. CBS was second with 11.2 million, and a 7.1/11, followed by ABC at 8.1 million, 5.0/8 and NBC with 5.7 million, 3.8/6. The CW trailed with 1.1 million and 0.7/1.

In the adults 18-49 demo, FOX also dominated with a 7.2, though that was down 26% over last year’s 9.7. It was followed by ABC (3.0), CBS (2.5), NBC (1.5) and the CW (0.5).

Wednesday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

FOX: “American Idol” (21.3 million, 12/19)
CBS: “NCIS” rerun (9.1 million, 5.9/9)
ABC: “The Middle” (8.2 million, 5.0/8)/ “Suburgatory” (7.0 million, 4.3/7)
NBC: “Whitney (4.3 million, 2.8/4)/”Are You There, Chelsea?” (4.3 million, 2.7/4)
The CW: “One Tree Hill” (1.5 million, 1.0/2)

18-49 leader: “American Idol” (6.9)

9 p.m.

FOX: “American Idol” (21.95 million, 12.3/18)
CBS: “Criminal Minds” (12.8 million, 8.0/12)
ABC: “Modern Family” (11.8 million, 7.0/11)/”Happy Endings” (6.2 million, 3.8/6)
NBC: “Harry’s Law” (6.4 million, 4.2/6)
The CW: “Remodeled” rerun (605 K, 0.4/1)

18-49 leader: “American Idol” (7.5)

10 p.m.

CBS: “CSI” (11.8 million, 7.4/12)
ABC: “Revenge” (7.6 million, 5.1/8)
NBC: “Law & Order: SVU” (6.4 million, 4.3/7)

18-49 leader: “Revenge” (2.3)

information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are
preliminary and subject to change. Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."