'American Idol' Premiere Down 19 Percent From Last Year

"American Idol" returned Wednesday night, and Fast National returns give the veteran singing competition's twelfth season premiere 17.81 million viewers and a 6.0 rating among adults 18-49 -- losses of 19 percent from last January's debut.

Among total viewers, the veteran Fox series took a bigger hit than it did between the last two seasons when it dropped 17 percent, but among adults 18-49, the dip wasn't as big as last season's (25 percent). The 2012 Idol opener brought 21.9 million viewers and a 7.4 rating.

However disappointing, given the big push to revamp the show, the numbers still leave American Idol safely ahead of any showing "The Voice" brought in the fall. It also gave Fox an easy win for the night by all measures, besting the rest of the big four's demo showings combined. History also tells us that "Idol" will recoup at least a tenth of a point when time zone adjustments come in later today.

The next test for Idol comes tonight, when the historically lower-rated Thursday premiere opens. Last year's brought a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 18 million viewers.

Increased competition weighed slightly on other primetime broadcasts between 8 and 10 p.m., though many series were in repeats last night.

Peter Oberth
News by Peter Oberth
Follow him @ Twitter