The 2011 American Idol ratings could make or break the show, and Fox will be watching them quite closely. The 2011 American Idol season premiere is set for January 12, 2011, and it will mark the first time that the new judges’ table will be presented to viewers. If ratings are down, the show will be attacked from all sides for being on the down-slope, but if the ratings are up, then the show could suddenly find a new life with advertisers. Season 10 is very important for American Idol on all those accounts, and will help determine just how long the show can stay on the air.
According to the New York Times, the 2010 American Idol season finale was watched by 24.2 million viewers, making it the lowest rated finale since the first season of the show. Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox were the two finalists, coming from a season that received quite a bid of bad press for not living up to the competition level of past seasons. Many viewers were turned off by the level of singing ability among the contestants that the judges had placed into the top 24, and tuned out after the audition phase of the season. That spelled the beginning of rumors that the show was on its last legs.
Now Simon Cowell has left the show, Ellen DeGeneres will not return, and Kara DioGuardi was fired. Brought in to replace them at the judges’ table are Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, who will join Randy Jackson as the only three judges this season. Ryan Seacrest will still be the host, but having an almost entirely new judges’ table could shake things up a bit. American Idol producers think that this is the recipe for continued success of the show, but that won’t become official until viewers decide to tune in to the 2011 American Idol season.
American Idol is still the most watched show on television, coming in only behind the 2010 Winter Olympics when it came to weekly viewers. The question comes up as to whether that will continue into 2011 though, especially with Dancing With the Stars currently the highest rated show, and they will go head-to-head on Tuesday nights this spring. The questions about 2011 American Idol ratings will turn into answers in January, and that could dictate whether producers decide to bring back the new judges, or if the show can rebuild to where it had peaked a couple of seasons ago.