American Idol Viewership Drops 13%

The biggest American distraction of the past decade may be losing its grip over the minds of your average Joe Sixpack. Bloomberg reports that American Idol averaged 26.1 million viewers to the two-hour opening of the 10th season on News Corp.’s Fox TV, a drop from past years that may jeopardize the network’s ratings dominance.  The audience shrank 13 percent from the 29.9 million who watched last year’s debut, according to initial Nielsen Co. data released by the networks. And while the show is likely not threatened by this not all that surprising drop, as Americans seem to have gotten bored with electing their pop stars (after all Cramer is still on air... and has anyone seen his Nielsen ratings), it probably is quite concerning to other power and money interests, who like nothing more than seeing the middle class in front of its TV during peak hours, instead of actually looking behind the DJIA's glossy facade, and learning just how insolvent their country has become.

From Bloomberg:

“Idol,” the most-watched show on U.S. television for seven straight seasons, has been the major contributor to Fox’s six-year reign as the most popular network among 18-to-49-year- old viewers, the audience that advertisers target. So far this season, “NBC Sunday Night Football” is most-watched program in total and younger viewers, according to Nielsen data.

The Fox talent contest is airing on different nights this year and adding new judges after Simon Cowell departed for Fox’s “X-Factor” talent competition, which begins in September. The network moved “Idol” to Wednesday and Thursday nights, and chose pop star Jennifer Lopez and rocker Steven Tyler to join Randy Jackson as judges.

News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, rose 22 cents to $14.45 at 11:48 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares gained 6.4 percent in 2010.

Fox is averaging 7.73 million viewers a night this season, lowest of the major U.S. broadcast networks, and is drawing 3.66 million viewers ages 18 to 49, second to CBS Corp. in the group prized most by advertisers.

On the other hand, maybe we are too worried: after all there are all those hudnreds of millions of 5 minute micro distractions known as $0.99 iPad apps still to be downloaded (and funded in lieu of ever more missed, and GSE-funded, mortgage payments).