I got a call from a news reporter asking about ratings for American Idol: Idol Gives Back telethon and wanting to know if it was possible that the reason the taped messages from the presidential candidates which got bumped and didn't wind up being aired might have been an attempt at improving the ratings. While I have no way to confirm that, my sense is that was not the case, and if it was it certainly appears not to have worked.
Through this process I went back and looked at a year ago's preliminary overnights for the first annual Idol Gives Back Telethon
I'd assumed in my earlier overnight post that 17+ million 6.7/18 for a telethon was good, until I looked at the preliminary overnight ratings for last year's telethon. I got that wrong. Last year, the first annual Idol Gives Back telethon scored 26.40 million viewers and a 10.0/26 (rating/share) in the 18-49 demographic in the preliminary overnight numbers for its airing on Wednesday April 25, 2007.
I didn't watch this year or last year and have no idea who last year's or this year's full roster of guest stars was, or what might cause a drop in overall viewers (and 18-49 demo viewers for that matter) of about 33% versus last year.
If anyone has any ideas on reasons for the drop, please post a comment!
Update: Alert reader Daniel comments below that the ratings drop was due to the changed (and announced in advance) format of the show removing the likelihood that someone would be eliminated.