Singing Competition Fatigue? How Will 'The X Factor' Effect This Season's 'American Idol' Ratings? (Poll)

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

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December 9th, 2011

Lots of chatter in our comments (and elsewhere) about how the ratings for the rookie season of The X Factor have been "disappointing". Perhaps measured against pundits or fans expectations, but the show's ratings have been far better than the scripted shows from the 2010-11 season that it "replaced" as well as almost everything else on Fox this Fall (X Factor Wednesday is Fox's #2 non-sports show for adults 18-49, Thursday is #4, New Girl is #1 and Glee is #3). Helped by The X Factor (with an assist from a seven game World Series) Fox is up 17% vs. last season among adults 18-49.

An interesting question, that will be debated even once the ratings for this season's American Idol are in is whether doubling up on the singing competitions by Fox will reduce the ratings for the networks crown jewel.

It's fashionable among the TV media to predict ratings declines for Idol, but that's like predicting rain on a cloudy day, most shows have ratings declines each season, and Idol's have been fairly regularly in the 10-15% range since 2006:

Added judges nobody liked? 10-15% decline

Got rid of Paula? 10-15% decline

Worst singers ever? 10-15% decline (according to our commenters, pretty much every season has the worst singers ever)

Here are the season average American Idol ratings for historical comparisons (all Live+Same Day Adults 18-49 ratings)

2009-10: Tues 8.3 (9% decline), Wed 7.7 (16% decline)

2008-9: Tues 9.1 (12% decline), Wed 9.2 (14% decline)

2007-8: Tues 10.7 (9% decline), Wed 10.3 (14% decline)

2006-7: Tues 11.7, Wed 12.0

(unfortunately, I don't have the Live+Same Day ratings for last season for comparison).

I look for the TV media to again jump on the American Idol's best ratings days are behind it band wagon once again, but will they attribute it to The X Factor (as opposed to, say, increased sunspot activity).

Me? I'll go with a likely 10-15% decline. And I'll go with the TV media being surprised by that level of decline. Once again.

What's your guess, will The X Factor help, hurt or have no effect on American Idol ratings?

 
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