"American Idol" did not return with glory rating-wise. The reality show on FOX delivered 21.9 million viewers and a 7.4 in the adult demographic on Wednesday, January 18 night, going down 24 percent from last year in ratings and and 18 percent in total viewership.
The two-hour premiere for season 11 represented the biggest year-over-year ratings drop for a season opener in the show's decade-long history. "Idol" premiere ratings peaked in 2007 with 15.8 in the adult demo but it steadily declined over the years, except for 2010 when Ellen DeGeneres joined the judging panel.
Nevertheless, "Idol" remains the highest-rated program in prime time. FOX easily won the night and outperformed all the other networks combined.
The demographic, meanwhile, showed that "Idol" average audience is getting older because the median age of viewers has increased every year. For comparison, the first season had an average viewer of 31.9 years old while last season, it went up to 47.4 years old. If this continues, it could be dangerous for the show since advertisers aim for viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.