Fox’s ‘Idol’ on Wednesday Drew Fewest Viewers in 10 Years

American Idol,” suffering a rapid loss of viewers, drew its smallest Wednesday audience in more than a decade, pulling down the total ratings for News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox network.

“Idol,” the once dominant singing show now in its 12th year, drew 13.1 million viewers last night, the least since August 2002, according to Nielsen data supplied by the networks. The audience of viewers ages 18 to 49, a group targeted by advertisers, was the smallest since July 2003.

“Idol” is proving to be a drag on Fox’s ratings this season, with the network’s audience down more than 22 percent in total viewers and the targeted demographic, the Nielsen data show. Together, the four largest networks are down 6.4 percent in total viewers and 9.4 percent in the age group.

For “Idol” alone, the ratings are down 18 percent in total viewers on Wednesdays and 15 percent on Thursdays, according to Nielsen data. Among the younger audience, the show has slid 16 percent on Wednesdays and 13 percent on Thursdays.

Even so, among broadcast networks, last night’s show drew the biggest audience and the most viewers ages 18 to 49.

News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, gained 0.1 percent to $28.84 at 3:07 p.m. The New York-based company’s Class A shares had gained 13 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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