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'American Idol' ratings fall to season low: What's to blame?

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American Idol BEP
Michael Becker/Fox

What happened to American Idol‘s ratings last night? The show dropped 16 percent to another season-low, 19 million viewers and a 5.6 preliminary rating in the adult demo. If NCIS didn’t air a repeat on Tuesday, the CBS drama would have given Idol a run for its money as the week’s most-watched series. Last night’s hour was the lowest-rated edition of Idol since the show’s first season, which aired during the summer.

Insiders have a theory, pointing to the fact that overall TV usage was down 12 percent in the hour this week: “Daylight Savings Time + St. Patrick’s Day = Low TV Viewership.”

At any rate, it’s not as if anybody else came close to matching Idol‘s rating, and Bones (11.9 million, 3.4) ranked as the night’s highest-rated scripted show. CBS aired college basketball instead of scripted, while NBC’s comedies hit season lows across the board: Community (4.2 million, 1.7), Perfect Couples (2.9 million, 1.2), Parks & Recreation (4.4 million, 1.8), 30 Rock (4.4 million, 1.7), and Outsourced (3.9 million, 1.4).

Anyway, I’m sure readers have their own theories about Idol‘s ratings that do not involve sun exposure and drinking holidays. What do you think?