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American Idol Down But Not Out (Updated)

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Season 10 of American Idol on Fox, featuring new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, opened on Fox with a hefty (and dominant) 26.06 million viewers and a 9.7 rating/26 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the fast affiliate results from Nielsen Media Research. 

The No. 2 networks for the evening, CBS in total viewers and ABC in adults 18-49, averaged 8.88 million viewers and a 1.9/5 in the demo. So Idol is still very much the dominant player. But compared to its year-ago season opener (29.94 million viewers; A18-49: 11.8/29 on Jan. 12, 2010), this was a loss of 3.88 million viewers and 18 percent in the demo.  

With Idol moving into its new Thursday 8 p.m. time slot and on the strength of last night’s performance—spiked by the initial curiosity—stay tuned to see how the veteran reality/competition performs in subsequent weeks. Chances are we will see erosion of 15 percent to 20 percent from one year earlier.