"American Idol" had its lowest-rated finale ever Wednesday, sliding in total viewers and the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic.
The finale caps a difficult season for the show, the highest-rated on televison for eight seasons. It spent this season in a close race with NBC's "The Voice" for the highest-rated show on television, aside from NFL football. Final numbers for the season were not yet available Thursday.
The "Idol" finale delivered a preliminary 6.1 rating/18 share in the key demo but was projected to go up to a 6.3 rating when final numbers are in. Even with that projected boost, that rating will trail the previous low, the 8.2 in the demo for the season 9 finale.
"Idol" was projected to have 21.5 million total viewers, the least ever for a season finale, according to preliminary numbers. The previous low was 23 million for the first season finale.
Despite the slide, "Idol" was easily Wednesday night's top-rated and most-watched show, and won the night for Fox. "Idol" also scored its highest ratings in the demo since the second week of this season and its second-highest number of total viewers since the premiere.
After ratings fell in season 9, "Idol" successfully rebuilt itself in season 10 with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. There has been speculation that Lopez may not return next season, fueled in part by her declining to publicly commit to the show.
NBC gave "The Voice" a ratings boost this season by airing its premiere episode after the Super Bowl. It will begin its third season in the fall.
This season has been a tough one for aging reality beheamouths from "The Bachelor" to "Dancing With the Stars," which have also suffered ratings declines.
More to come...