“American Idol” hit a new low in the ratings March 28, pulling in 3.45 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic and only 11 million total viewers. For the first time, NBC's “The Voice” is being watched by more people than “Idol.”
While “American Idol” is still guiding Fox to wins on Wednesday and Thursday nights, it continues to lose ground to “The Voice,” which premiered this week with new episodes on Monday and Tuesday. “The Voice” premiered March 25 and dominated the night for NBC, pulling in 13.6 million viewers, an 11 percent rise over the premiere of the fall edition.
“Idol” was faring better in February when it was attracting at least 13.5 million viewers to each episode. February viewing totals, especially in the demo, are more important than other months as those ratings are used, along with those in November and May, to set advertising rates next season.
The problem for “Idol” is that it has now fallen below a 3 rating in the 18-49 demo, a new low water mark for the show now in its 12th season. Thursday's episode was the third consecutive elimination show in which it has been below a 3.
Wednesday's performance edition, which performs better than the results show, was only slightly better, pulling in about 4 million viewers in the demo. Both nights were off from the previous week when 4.6 million 18- to 49-year-olds tuned in to the competition show.
Six million 18- to 49-year-olds tuned in to “The Voice” when it returned on March 25 and 5.1 million watched the next night. The second night of “The Voice” was watching by 12 million total viewers.
Obviously the introduction of new judges Shakira and Usher added to the tune-in factor and the Monday and Tuesday schedules are weaker than the competition “Idol” faces, which has included the NCAA basketball tournament this week and last.
The real test will come later next month as “Idol” gets closer to crowning a winner and “The Voice” slides into its live rounds. If “The Voice” is still posting bigger numbers at that point, it will indeed be time to crown a new singing competition king.