‘America’s Got Talent’ ratings take a dive with Howard Stern debut

May 15, 2012

Howard Stern (Evan Agostini/AP)

Last year, when the show debuted later in May, on a Tuesday, it had clocked 15.3 million viewers.

That’s about a 32 percent plunge.

Among 18-49 year old viewers who are the currency of NBC ad sales, Stern’s “Talent” season kickoff clocked 3.7 rating. That means slightly under 4 percent of the country’s viewers in that age bracket tuned in.

Last year’s debut did a 4.3 rating. That’s a 14 percent drop.

Last year’s season debut aired the Tuesday after Memorial Day. The May sweep ratings derby had ended by then and “Talent” faced mostly rerun programming on the other broadcast networks.

This year, armed with Stern, “Talent” debuted in the teeth of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” penultimate performance night, as well as the season debut of “The Bachcelorette.”

Stern’s unveiling also faced the one-hour season finale of CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” which had been enjoying one of its stronger seasons, as well as original episodes of “Two and a Half Men” and “Mike and Molly.”

The “Talent” debut also competed for audience with the season finale of Fox’s “Bones” and the penultimate episode of Hugh Laurie’s long-running doc drama “House.”

The moral of this story? Howard Stern is not, as NBC said at the start of the “Talent” episode, the King of All Media, and NBC made the mistake of buying into its own hype, making a serious misstep when it scheduled Stern’s “Talent” debut on Monday night.

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