'American Idol' finale ratings dip below last year's

MUMBAI: This finale of Fox network's biggest hit American Idol has seen a dip in ratings when compared to last year.

An estimated 31.4 million people tuned in to watch Fantasia Barrino's victory at the conclusion of American Idol, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was down from 38.1 million who watched last year's climax when Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken at the end of last season.

In a media report, Fox said that viewership was down in general this week because summer was approaching, so it was pleased by the numbers. Overall, ratings for the third season of American Idol were up about 15 per cent over last year, Nielsen said.

Another media report said that among viewers aged 18 to 49, the demographic most networks use to as a measure of prime-time success, the final episode in the third installment of Idol drew 13.2 rating, down from 16.8 for the end of the second edition last season.

Fox attributed the decline in part to the fact that this year's finale aired a week later in the season, when the number of people watching television is lower.

The drop in ratings was there but it still made Wednesday night's Idol the fourth-most watched regular series episode of the season. It was bested only by the NBC series finale of Friends (52.3 million); a Friends retrospective the same night (36.9 million); and the premiere of Survivor All-Stars, which came on CBS after the Super Bowl (33.5 million) said a media report.

It may be noted that the Indian version of the show, which has tentatively been titled Idol , is reportedly scheduled to launch in September on Sony Entertainment Television. If Idol does for Sony anything close to what it's American forerunner did for Fox in the US, Star Plus might finally have some challenge to its four years and still running reign at the top of the ratings charts.

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