Pop Culture

'Idol' loses more viewers on 2nd premiere night

"American Idol" lost another 4 million viewers on the second night of its new season and rival TV networks held up strongly against the revamped but aging singing contest, early ratings figures showed Friday.

"American Idol," the Fox show which for years has wiped out the competition, attracted 22.9 million viewers on Thursday, losing 9 percent of its 10th season premiere audience the previous night.

The numbers were enough to retain "Idol's" crown as the most-watched TV show in the United States. But fans of "The Big Bang Theory" on CBS stayed loyal, as the Emmy-winning comedy was watched by 13.6 million Americans in a head-to-head match.

Over at ABC, some 8.3 million viewers tuned in to game show "Wipeout", while NBC's comedy "Community" pulled in 4.7 million.

"American Idol" has undergone a wholesale make-over in the last six months, bringing in singers Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as judges, after the exit of Briton Simon Cowell to launch a new talent show on Fox later in 2011.

Fox executives said that when combining the two-nights of the new-look show this week, "American Idol" audiences are down just 12 percent from last year's opening week, which they said was great for a show in its 10th season.

Young adults, however, are among the biggest groups of viewers who have decided not to tune into "Idol" this year, despite months of hype about the new celebrity judges.

Thursday's episode was down 16 percent from last year among 18-49 years olds — the category most coveted by advertisers.

"American Idol" has been a major generator of advertising revenue to Fox television, and driven record sales and digital downloads with early discoveries like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry.

But the show has lost about 6 million viewers since 2006 and recent winners have seen dismal sales for their debut albums.