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Primetime Ratings: 'Idol' Premiere Falls 27%

American Idol
tumbled 27% from its year-ago premiere, posting a 7.2 rating with adults 18-49 on Wednesday,
according to Nielsen preliminary ratings. The two-hour 11th season
premiere averaged 21.6 million viewers, a 17% decrease from its last debut on Jan.
19, 2011.

The performance still easily allowed Fox to dominate the
competition on Wednesday with an overall 7.2 rating/18 share in the key demo.

ABC was a distant second with an overall 3.0/8 as its lineup suffered only slightly from the competition; The Middle was down 10% to a 2.6, while Suburgatorywas down 14% to 2.5. Leading Wednesday comedy Modern Family was down only a tenth to a 5.0, followed by Happy Endings, also down only a tenth to a 2.9. Revenge, which aired at 10 p.m. after the premiere of American Idol,was the only show across the night to improve, up 4% to a 2.5.

NBC fared no better against Idol, as much of its lineup hit or matched their series' low. Whitney, in its new timeslot, dropped 20% to a series low 1.6, while newcomer Are You There, Chelsea? slipped 22% from its premiere to a 1.8. Harry's Law matched its series low, falling a tenth to a 1.1 and Law & Order: SVU was down 10% to a series-low 1.8. NBC was in fourth with an overall 1.5/4.

CBS' Criminal Minds and CSI returned from their last new episodes in mid-December, falling a 6% to a 3.2 and a tenth to a 2.8, respectively. With an earlier repeat of NCIS at 8 p.m., CBS was in third with an overall 2.5/6.

The CW aired One Tree Hill, which was down 22% to a 0.7. The network finished with an overall 0.5/1.