Friday, May 25, 2012

'American Idol' no longer No. 1 show on TV

Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson onstage at part 1 of FOX's American Idol Season 11 Finale, Top 2 Live Performance Show on May 22, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

The fading favorite succumbs to a billion-dollar juggernaut's primetime ratings challenge.

Is "American Idol" no longer the cultural titan it once was? The numbers are in for last night's season finale. Not even the notoriously kind Judge J.Lo would have been impressed.

For the first time in a long time, “Idol” won’t finish as the top-rated program in primetime. According to preliminary numbers, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” will go down as this season’s top-ranked program. The NFL game of the week averaged around 20.7 million viewers, while "Idol's" Wednesday edition averaged 19.7 million viewers this season. With big NFL ratings come big numbers for the league. Last December, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “the NFL pre-emptively renewed TV rights deals with CBS, Fox, and NBC for nine years (through 2022) at an average increase of 7 percent per network that will take revenue for the NFL from $1.93 billion annually to $3.1 billion by 2022.”