Not even Harry Connick Jr. could save "American Idol" from another disappointing season opener.
Wednesday saw the season 13 premiere of Fox's singing sensation with crooner Connick added to the judging panel, along with Keith Urban and a returning Jennifer Lopez, who took last season off.
But fewer viewers came along for the ride. "Idol" drew 15.2 million viewers, down 15% compared with last year's premiere and the lowest regular-season launch ever for "Idol." (The season 1 premiere drew just under 10 million, but it aired in June 2002, outside of the September through May TV season.)
Once a TV colossus that blasted any competition out of its way, "Idol" is a downsized version of its former self. Fox executives have watched glumly as ratings have slowly ebbed from their phenomenal highs in the middle of the last decade. However, "Idol" is still a powerful ratings force and was far and away the top-rated show on Wednesday. By comparsion, Wednesday's No. 2 show, ABC's sitcom "Modern Family," drew 9.1 million — although it may pull much closer to "Idol" in cumulative audience once DVR viewing is tossed into the mix over the next few days.
Perhaps the clearest sign that the show has cooled among younger people: In the key category of adults aged 18 to 49, "Idol" scored a 4.7 rating, just one-tenth of a point below the 2002 opener and thus the lowest season premiere ever for the show among that demographic.
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