You'd think that with all the hubbub over this season of; Paula Abdul's departure, Simon reportedly not getting along with Ellen, the singers reportedly being terrible, that ratings would certainly have crashed, but Idol's 18-49 ratings are down just 6% from last season so far (using "Most Current"* ratings comparisons which take into account Live+7 Day viewing when available and Live+Same Day otherwise).
Compare that 6% decline to the ratings declines noted in a TVMoJoe piece today highlighting the sharply declining ratings for many scripted "tentpole" shows vs. last season. (Robert recently highlighted the specific plight of ABC). TVMoJoe notes that Heroes adults 18-49 ratings are down 36%, is down 33%, is down 20%, 24 is down 16% and 's is down 12% vs. last season so far. (those are Live+Same Day ratings comparisons)
Non-sequiter that's not worth a separate post:
Perhaps to soften the bad news about ratings declines he delivers later in the piece, TVMoJoe calls this season "a great year for broadcasters" in the first sentence.
That's an interesting term to use, because adults 18-49 ratings overall for the big 4 networks are flat vs. last season. Remove NBC's Winter Olympics weeks and they're down 2% as a group.
Apparently, Flat is the New Great!
Update: In correspondence with with TVMoJoe, I learned that he has Live+SD season to date average data (which I don't) that indicate increases vs. last season that the Most Current ratings do not. If the 4 big broadcast networks are in fact up vs. last season in Live+SD ratings, even with the Olympics, that's at least far better than recent braodcast history.