LOS ANGELES May 22 The finale of Fox's singing
competition show "American Idol" drew the lowest viewership in
its 13-year history, with only 10.1 million viewers, down 29
percent from last year's record low, according to early ratings
figures from the network.
"Idol," which crowned North Carolina singer Caleb Johnson
the winner in a two-hour finale on Wednesday night, was once an
industry powerhouse for Fox and watched by more than 30 million
viewers at its peak.
But it has steadily declined in ratings in recent years,
averaging around 8 million viewers per episode over the current
season despite featuring celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith
Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
The "Idol" finale also saw a significant slump in its 18-49
demographic that advertisers covet, drawing 3.3 million this
Last year, the finale garnered a low of 14.2 million
viewers, the first time the show's finale failed to draw 20
million people, despite bringing in high-priced celebrity judges
Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Urban to boost sagging ratings.
In comparison to "Idol's" Wednesday finale, NBC's singing
competition "The Voice" drew 11.6 million viewers during its
Tuesday finale and continues to be a hit for the Comcast
"Idol" will be scaled back for its next season from
approximately 50 hours to 37 hours, Fox Broadcasting
entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said earlier this month.
Last year, longtime "Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe was fired
from the show last year due to low ratings, and replaced by
Swedish producer Per Blankens.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)