March 29, 2013


American Idol has gone seriously out of tune.

FOX:  How to describe the depths of last night’s 2.7 rating for AMERICAN IDOL?  It was the lowest rated regular episode of the series ever, including its first season, when it ran as a summer series.  It was more than a full point below Tuesday’s results show rating for The Voice, and thus ended the question of what the most popular reality show on network television currently is.  Perhaps most damningly, it was below the fall average rating for X Factor in the same timeslot–the show that was regularly dismissed as filler for Idol fans.  And it was all of this on a night when it didn’t even have to face The Big Bang Theory, which typically triples last night’s CBS rating for basketball.  Make no mistake, Idol is still a successful television series in the increasingly weak context of broadcast network TV, but this is a multimillion dollar blow to FOX.  Meanwhile, it was supposed to be a gift to RAISING HOPE that its season finale episodes would air with an Idol lead-in, rather than having to open up Tuesday nights (against The Voice), but the show’s 1.4/1.2 ratings were respectively at and below its season lows on its regular night.

ABC:  Both GREY’S ANATOMY and SCANDAL were down a bit for the night, by 0.2 (to 2.8) and 0.1 (to 2.6) respectively.  These shows tend to adjust a bit when final numbers are released, so that 0.2 margin between them may shift.  The night began with a 1.4 for WIFE SWAP, down 0.3 from last week’s season debut.

NBC:  Only 1600 PENN aired new episodes last night in what looked like a burn-off, and both had series low 0.7s.  That equaled the sitcom reruns that aired 8-9PM.  The night’s biggest number came from an SVU rerun with a 1.0–not doing much to set up the hour for next week’s debut of Hannibal.

CBS:  Ratings for last night’s round of NCAA TOURNAMENT action won’t be clear until final numbers are in, but appeared to be steady with last year’s low 2 level.

CW:  THE VAMPIRE DIARIES was down a tick to 1.2 (ahead of NBC and not far behind ABC), while BEAUTY & THE BEAST held even at 0.6.

Fans of ABC’s beleaguered HAPPY ENDINGS should tune in tonight while they still can, as the network begins airing back-to-back episode in what it swears isn’t a burn-off.  Basketball continues on CBS, and the other networks are mostly new against it.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."