‘Idol’ singing the bluesLOS ANGELES - The finale of Fox’s “American Idol” drew the lowest viewership in its 13-year history at 10.6 million, 25 percent below last year’s audience, according to ratings compiled by Nielsen on Thursday.
“Idol,” which crowned North Carolina singer Caleb Johnson the winner in a two-hour finale on Wednesday night, once was an industry powerhouse for Fox, watched by more than 30 million viewers at its peak.
But it has steadily declined in ratings in recent years, averaging eight million viewers per episode in the latest season, despite featuring celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
The 18-49 demographic that advertisers covet accounted for 3.4 million of the viewers for this year’s finale, down from last year’s six million.
Early Nielsen ratings data on Thursday from Fox said total viewership for the “Idol” finale was 10.1 million, with 3.3 million in the 18-49 demographic.
Last year, the finale garnered 14.2 million viewers, the first time the show’s end failed to draw 20 million, despite bringing in high-priced celebrity judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Urban.
Its biggest competitor in the singing contest space, NBC’s “The Voice,” drew 11.6 million viewers during its Tuesday finale, down from the 15.3 million during its spring finale last year.
“The Voice,” which airs in both the spring and fall, continues to be a ratings hit for the Comcast-owned network and has outpaced “Idol,” averaging about 13.8 million viewers per episode this season.
“Idol” will be scaled back for its next season from 50 hours to 37 hours, Twenty-First Century Fox’s Fox Broadcasting entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said earlier this month.