After football overrun, Fox will re-air Sunday ‘Idol’ episode

January 23, 2012

Jane Carrey, 24, auditioned in San Diego for the judges, who were impressed by her star dad. (Michael Becker/FOX)

Yes, with “American Idol” ratings having gone kerplop, the network is really anxious not to tick off what viewers it still has.

You’ll have another chance to enjoy judge Jennifer Lopez as she reminds Jim Carrey’s Actual Daughter she worked with Daddy as a Fly Girl on “In Living Color” — right before President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address (or immediately after, if you live in Mountain or Pacific time zones).

Despite the nearly one-hour delay, Sunday’s “Idol” has already been watched by around 20 million people.

That’s on par with the 22 million who caught the 11th season debut last Wednesday. And, it’s more than 2 million better than the haul for Episode No. 2 last Thursday. And both of those episodes worked at a huge advantage over Sunday’s show, having aired in their proper timeslots, in primetime, like God intended. Of course, they also did not enjoy an NFC championship lead-in, driving viewers to them.

Meanwhile, nearly 8 percent of the country’s 18-49 year old viewers —the ones coveted by Madison Avenue — caught Sunday’s late-night “Idol.’ That’s the franchise’s best showing so far this season. Thursday episode, for instance, attracted just 5.7 percent of the viewers advertisers crave.

Fox got lucky on its “Idol” broadcast Sunday night. Had the game’s overtime, or the Post Game Droning Show, gone on just three more minutes, these good “Idol” ratings would not have been included in the show’s season average.

Nielsen has very strict rules about this sort of thing. “Must start in primetime” — it’s very clear on that. Primetime ends at 11 p.m. Had “Idol” not started until 11:01 p.m. — or had it started at 6:57 p.m., for that matter — the ratings that were putting a smile on Fox suits faces all day Monday, would have been just a footnote in the “American Idol”: Season 11 coffee-table book.

And yet, those smiles on the faces of Fox suits were tinged with sadness Monday, as they contemplated what might have been had they gone ahead with their bold plan to air the 11th season debut of “Idol” right after Sunday’s championship game, as announced to advertisers last May.

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