American Idol‘s Season 13 launch was no recipe for Nielsen love, delivering a series low for a premiere — even trailing Season 1′s summertime bow — in the demo.
Drawing 15.2 million viewers and a 4.7 rating (per Fox’s fast-ordered finals), Idol was down 15 and 22 percent from its year-ago opener and landed one tenth behind the show’s 2002 debut, which netted a 4.8.
In total audience, however, the launch of Idol XIII — which TVLine readers gave an average grade of “A-” — bested the show’s maiden voyage, which drew 9.9 mil.
Versus The Voice‘s most recent season premiere (14.7 mil/4.9), Idol managed a few more viewers. Fox also notes that this is first time Idol has returned higher (up 31 percent in the demo) from its previous finale since Season 10.
Over on CBS, leading out of sitcom reruns in the 8 o’clock hour, Criminal Minds (10.5 mil/2.4) shed a few eyeballs but was steady in the demo versus its fall finale, while CSI (10.3 mil/2.0) returned up two tenths (and opposite the Duck Dynasty season premiere; numbers to come later. Cable!).
ABC’s The Middle (7.5 mil/1.8) was down 18 percent in the demo, while Suburgatory returned to 5.3 mil and a 1.6 — on par with its Season 2 finale (which aired at 8:30) but down sharply from its previous premiere (7.5 mil/2.8, leading out of Modern Family). Mod Fam (9.1 mil/3.2) slipped three tenths, Super Fun Night (4.6 mil/1.5) was down two tenths and Nashville (5.1 mil/1.3) ticked down one tenth.
NBC’s Revolution (4.9 mil/1.3) and SVU (5.5 mil/1.4) were both down about 15 percent in the demo, while Chicago P.D. (5.5 mil/1.5) tumbled 36 and 25 percent from its series launch.
The CW’s Arrow (2.5 mil/0.9) returned down 17 and 19 percent, but The Tomorrow People (1.6 mil/0.5) was flat.