Fox warned Monday that ratings for its flagship program, American Idol, will likely shrink this season as the talent contest’s format becomes more familiar to viewers. The show debuts Tuesday night with its second episode slated for Wednesday.
“I think we can expect to see some declines,” said Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman. “I think that’s only natural for a fourth-year show.” Berman didn’t say how much of a decline she expected.
Idol remains a “a very big engine and an important part of our schedule,” Berman said during a press conference Monday morning in Los Angeles.
Idol has historically dominated its time period. While Fox placed last among the Big Four networks during the November sweep, analysts have been expecting the network to move up significantly in February, based primarily on the strength of Idol.
It will appear three times a week for several weeks during that sweep. Last year, Idol’s Jan. 27 debut pulled a 13.0 rating/32 share among 18-49s. Its Jan. 28 Wednesday debut had a 12.7 rating/32 share.
Idol’s ratings rose last year compared with the prior season. That was a surprise to the network, which had expected them to fall as the show matured, Berman said.
She said she doesn’t expect that to happen again this year.