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'American Idol's Ratings Down 30% From Year Ago, Falls Below 20 Million

After eight seasons on top, could 'American Idol' finally fall from its status as the highest rated show on television?

Given the ratings from the show's latest episode on Wednesday, this is now a very real possibility for the talent competition.

Wednesday's episode of 'Idol' drew a 6.4 adults 18-49 rating with an estimated 19.5 million viewers. That's down 13.5% from last week's two-hour premiere and a whopping 30% from the same telecast a year ago.

Fox still managed to win the night thanks to 'Idol' and the special early preview of 'Touch' (which drew almost 12 million viewers), but it's not good news for show in only its third episode of the season.

Specially since 'Idol' usually starts out with high ratings, sags in the middle weeks as competitors are narrowed down, then surges for the finish.

Based on that pattern -- which has stayed consistent over nearly all its seasons -- ratings could easily drop further and we may see the first week in a long time that 'Idol' is beaten by its competition.

And don't forget that NBC's 'The Voice' will return following the Super Bowl on February 5. While it may not beat 'Idol', it could easily dilute the show's audience when every Nielsen household counts.

January 27, 2012 |

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