'American Idol' Ratings Down

Twelfth season premiere sees 19 percent drop in viewership

Michael Becker/FOX
By |

Ratings for the first episode of American Idol's 12th season were down significantly, with an average of 17.8 million viewers tuning into the two-hour premiere, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Overall viewership, as well as viewership among 18- to 49-year-olds – the most coveted demographic among advertisers – dropped 19 percent compared to last year. In a statement, however, Idol's network Fox called the drop "expected" and noted that the show still beat the combined results of ABC, CBS and NBC.

'American Idol' Is Back: Five Reasons to Watch

Last night's premiere marked the first episode with new Idol judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, who took over following the departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The lead-up to the premiere was marked by an ongoing feud between Minaj and Carey that involved the rapper reportedly threatening the pop diva, who promptly beefed up her security.