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Dipping 'American Idol' helps CBS end FOX's eight-year streak atop the key demo
This isn't so much a prediction as it is a virtual sure thing. For the 2011-2012 season, FOX won the key 18-49 demographic with a 3.2 rating, just ahead of CBS' 3.0 rating. That was FOX's eighth straight year atop the key demo. Although "American Idol" was way down last year, the Wednesday installment was the No. 2 show on TV in the 18-49 demographic, while the Thursday installment was No.5 (and both installments also ranked in the Top 4 in overall viewership). If "Idol" drops another third of its audience or even a more reasonable 15 or 20 percent this spring, as viewer fatigue continues to set in on a show whose longevity already defied all logic, FOX won't have much of a chance to keep up with CBS, which will get a massive bottom line bump from the Super Bowl. With almost nothing new coming at midseason, FOX's hopes of hanging onto the top spot, while extremely remote, hinge on two things: 1. Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban not only drawing initial curiosity eyes, but also reinvigorating the sagging show after auditions. 2. FOX's massive promotional expenditure on "The Following" turning the Kevin Bacon thriller into the year's breakout smash. Even if those things happen, FOX still might not have a chance.
- Daniel Fienberg