It seems American Idol is in some dire straits, especially when you look at the Canadian numbers.
According to Sir Awesomeness himself, Bill Brioux, the American Idol top eight performance episode only pulled in 616,000 in the overnights last Wednesday. Compare that to Survivor: Brawn vs. Brains, which had a viewership of 1,738,000 using the same overnight numbers.
I suspect part of American Idol’s low viewership is due to it being relegated to CTV Two opposed to airing on the main CTV network as it did in its peak.
CTV Two, if you’re unaware of it, is an odd mismatch of several affiliates in small Ontario towns/cities, a random affiliate in BC and two cable stations. They can throw the CTV brand on CTV Two, but the network doesn’t have the power to draw as many viewers as CTV (and I doubt it ever will).
The decline may also have something to do with American Idol’s shift of focus from the contestants to their celebrity judges. I can’t remember seeing Paula, Randy and Simon making their way to the judge’s table by entering the stage from behind the contestants, essentially pushing them aside, walking up the stage and waving to their fans before finally taking their seats. Even if they did, I doubt they would just sit around and look at the signs their fans made for them in the audience at the judge’s table the way Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban did at the start of last week’s performance show.
Anyway, Brioux pins the decline of American Idol to the rise of The Voice, the disaster that was the American version of The X Factor and perhaps also that talent shows have scoured all the remaining spectacular talent in America. [Strangely enough, The Voice and The X Factor both aired on CTV Two in some capacity. The X Factor and American Idol both aired on Fox in the US as well.]
He also notes that the long-running Survivor isn’t immune to a ratings decline, saying the show used to bring in over three million viewers in its peak (compared to roughly two million these days). Brioux’s bestie, Jeff Probst, (who also happens to be the host and executive producer of Survivor) pointed out, however, that the numbers for everything else on network TV has also dipped, so two million viewers isn’t too shabby.
Anyway, I’m glad American Idol’s ratings are finally imploding. When it’s eventually yanked, that leaves a lot of room on Fox/CTV Two’s schedule for something new. American Idol has quite a legacy, and having it stick around longer than it should just detracts from it.
TV doesn’t need another show that is so drawn out and watered down from its original premise that you wonder why it’s still on the air at all. The worst part is when those shows finally end no one winds up caring. Seinfeld had the right idea—leave when you’re on top.
With that said, I think it’s time for Survivor to wrap it up as well. It had a great run, it revolutionized television and ushered in the reality TV era, but really, what more does it have to tell? I haven’t watched Survivor, but I imagine it’s just getting tired. I mean, how much of the same thing can their audience take?
Source: TV Feeds My Family