‘American Idol’ Ratings Woes: A Season-by-Season Timeline of the Decline

Every show lucky enough to last 13 seasons hits highs and lows — but few shows climb as high as “American Idol,” so few shows slide as far.

The show hit an all-times ratings low last Thursday of 1.7 in the key 18-49 demographic, less than a sixth the show’s average rating peak. (Granted, that number doesn’t take Live + 7 numbers — which take into account all viewers over a week — so it’s uncertain what kind of lift that episode will receive with delayed viewing.) During its high-water mark, the fifth season, it averaged a 12.6 rating in the demo.

See video: Jennifer Lopez Drops F-Bomb Live on ‘American Idol’

At first the road downhill was gentle. But it started to get bumpy in Season 11 — the second season with judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The show tumbled more than two full ratings points from the previous season, to an average 6.0 for the season.

Part of the problem? The music show market was getting glutted, thanks in large part to the success of NBC’s new hit “The Voice,” which borrowed plenty of elements from “Idol.”

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