Fox’s American Idol may draw television’s highest concentration of African-American viewers, but that’s largely a function of the series’ tremendous reach.
In its eighth season, Idol’s Wednesday night airing averaged 1.34 million African-American viewers 18-49, per Nielsen live-plus-seven-day ratings data, topping all comers in the demo. The Tuesday night installment of Simon Cowell’s brainchild took second place, drawing 1.31 million.
While those deliveries are impressive, African-American viewers accounted for less than 10 percent of Idol’s 18-49 deliveries. During a season in which Idol averaged 24.9 million total viewers, the eighth go-around of the competition series put up a 9.1 rating among adult viewers in the core TV demo.
TBS in 2009 finished behind only Idol, as the Tyler Perry series Meet the Browns averaged 1.11 million African-Americans 18-49, representing 36 percent of its total audience (3.05 million). Last season, the first Perry-TBS collaboration, House of Payne, held down the No. 3 spot behind the Tuesday/Wednesday Idols (1.62 million/1.5 million). Payne drew 1.33 million African-Americans 18-49; then as now, it was the only program on cable to finish in the top 10 among the demo.