(LOS ANGELES) — It appears that American Idol is not quite the ratings juggernaut it once was.
According to Variety, the 11th-season premiere of the Fox singing competition was seen by an estimated 21.6 million viewers Wednesday night, a significant drop from the 26.3 million who tuned into last year’s season opener. In fact, it’s the steepest-ever decline in ratings for an Idol premiere from one season to the next.
Wednesday’s audience was also the smallest for an Idol season premiere since the show’s first season in the summer of 2002, when it had yet to establish itself as a major hit.
The good news for Fox: Idol was still the top-rated program on Wednesday night.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Jeff Peterson, Deseret News