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What's up with the Idol Gives Back Ratings Being Down 33% Vs. Last Year?

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April 10th, 2008

Simon on American IdolI 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. 

 
  • http://www.zap2it.com Daniel

    This is an easy one: Last year’s Idol Gives Back was a regular Wednesday Idol episode extended to two hours and over the course of two hours they pretended they were going to eliminate a contestant, as usually happens on Wednesday episodes. Then they said at the end that nobody was going home. But either way, ratings would be comparable to a regular Wednesday elimination show.

    This year’s Idol Gives Back was designed as a 150-minute stand-alone telethon. FOX announced over a month ago that nobody would be eliminated and that an elimination episode would air tomorrow. So nobody caring about the competitive aspect of Idol would have any reason to watch.

    I’ll be covering this in more detail on the Zap2it Idol blog ( http://blog.zap2it.com/americanidol/ if you’ll forgive the plug), but it’s amazing how many media outlets are reporting on the ratings drop without giving any context.

    -Daniel

  • http://www.zap2it.com Daniel

    This is an easy one: Last year's Idol Gives Back was a regular Wednesday Idol episode extended to two hours and over the course of two hours they pretended they were going to eliminate a contestant, as usually happens on Wednesday episodes. Then they said at the end that nobody was going home. But either way, ratings would be comparable to a regular Wednesday elimination show.

    This year's Idol Gives Back was designed as a 150-minute stand-alone telethon. FOX announced over a month ago that nobody would be eliminated and that an elimination episode would air tomorrow. So nobody caring about the competitive aspect of Idol would have any reason to watch.

    I'll be covering this in more detail on the Zap2it Idol blog ( http://blog.zap2it.com/americanidol/ if you'll forgive the plug), but it's amazing how many media outlets are reporting on the ratings drop without giving any context.

    -Daniel

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Daniel, thanks for the info, and I will edit the original post.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Daniel, thanks from me too — and with helpful info like that — plug away! :)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Daniel, thanks from me too — and with helpful info like that — plug away! :)

  • Mikey

    Daniel, I 100% agree.

    I thought I was going to be this smart guy and be the first one to post this as a reason for the decline and you beat me to it.

    I’ll bet you the competition element will be back when they do this charity show next year.

  • Mikey

    Daniel, I 100% agree.

    I thought I was going to be this smart guy and be the first one to post this as a reason for the decline and you beat me to it.

    I'll bet you the competition element will be back when they do this charity show next year.

  • Rob

    Obviously, Daniel is right- and I enjoy reading his blogs every week. That being said, they also hyped up a shocking duet last year to close the show. They kept saying that nobody would believe it. It was only Celine Dion with a computerized version of the real Elvis. It was pretty cool the way they did it but not worth the hype. There was nothing like that this year for them to tease us with.

  • Rob

    Obviously, Daniel is right- and I enjoy reading his blogs every week. That being said, they also hyped up a shocking duet last year to close the show. They kept saying that nobody would believe it. It was only Celine Dion with a computerized version of the real Elvis. It was pretty cool the way they did it but not worth the hype. There was nothing like that this year for them to tease us with.

  • Sandy

    Chances are the Idol Gives Back will continue to stay a 3 night event. Fox is not going to pass up another chance to have 20 million plus viewers on a Thursday night.

  • Sandy

    Chances are the Idol Gives Back will continue to stay a 3 night event. Fox is not going to pass up another chance to have 20 million plus viewers on a Thursday night.

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