'American Idol' Premiere Is Least-Watched in Show's History

Carla Harmon
March 13, 2018

It was the incumbent, NBC's The Voice (2.3 rating in adults 18-49, 11.72 million viewers), that came out victorious, topping ABC's Idol revival (1.8, 8.36 million) by 28% in the demo and nearly 3.4 million viewers.

The Nielsen company said Monday that the 10.34 million who watched the return of "American Idol" represented ABC's biggest Sunday night audience with regular series programming since 2012.


The American Idol victor is determined by television viewers through public voting. That music competition show began its new season last month with an episode viewed by 12.3 million people. And the outcome was clear: The Voice came out on top in both total viewers and the adult demo.

The pair aired head-to-head for an entire two-hour block, and their networks' respective nightly averages became much more closely aligned after switching wins at 10 p.m. with dominant drama The Good Doctor (1.8 adults) for ABC and Good Girls (1.1 adults) on NBC.


Meanwhile, Idol was down 22% in the demo from its ABC premiere on Sunday (2.2) to mark the series' lowest Week 2 showing. It was the 19th meeting between the Williams sisters, which was won by Venus, and the eighth face-off between Idol and The Voice. Either way, The Voice's advantage doesn't seem in doubt.

For Fox, "Lucifer" (0.7, 2.9 million) while "The Resident" (0.8, 3.8 million) was down slightly in the demo.


CBS | Adrift in a mish-mash of repeats, fresh episodes of Man With a Plan (6.4 mil/1.0) and Living Biblically (4.7mil/0.7) each added viewers while steady in the demo. The CW averaged a 0.3 and 1 million viewers.

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