American Idol Ratings
Credit: Fox

UPDATED: The shields are down on Fox’s Death Star.

Night 2 of American Idol saw ratings slippage and a new level of vulnerability for the long-running reality sensation. Idol delivered 18 million viewers and a 5.7 adult demo rating, according to Fox’s time-zone-adjusted nationals. That’s down 27 percent from its Thursday premiere last year and off 23 percent from its season premiere the previous night.

Idol faces tougher competition on Thursday so you expect the show’s rating to fall from its Wednesday opener. But the erosion is nonetheless striking since it put CBS’ nearly steady Big Bang Theory (15.7 million, 5.2) within shouting distance of a show versus show upset. In fact, Big Bang tied the first half hour of Idol in the demo, though this could shift in the afternoon nationals (you don’t normally slice up a show to make a ratings comparison, but the potentially historic nature of any kind of Idol upset has all sides looking very closely at these numbers).

Otherwise, Fox won the night, and Idol was the top-rated show. Plus, Idol boosted The Finder (6.8 million, 2.2) by 29 percent compared to last week’s debut.

CBS had the second week of Rob (11.7 million, 3.6), down 12 percent from it’s debut — not bad for a second episode, considering its high-flying premiere and added Idol competition this week. Person of Interest (14.3 million, 3.3) and The Mentalist (14 million, 2.9) both climbed slightly, with POI hitting a series high.

ABC’s lineup slipped, with Wipeout (5.9 million, 1.8), Grey’s Anatomy (9.3 million, 3.4), and Private Practice (6.1 million, 2.1) all down between 9 and 18 percent.

Hey, look at this: Parks and Recreation (4.3 million, 2.0) thumbed its nose at Idol and climbed 5 percent. But 30 Rock (4.1 million, 1.6) fell 11 percent from last week’s premiere, The Office (6 million, 2.9) was flat, and Up All Night (4 million, 1.9) was down 5 percent. Meanwhile, The Firm (3.4 million, 0.9) is filing for ratings bankruptcy and falling 10 percent.

On The CW, the Vampire Diaries (2.7 million, 1.1) and Secret Circle (1.7 million, 0.7) were down a tenth each.

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