'Idol' Ratings Hitting Sour Note
Viewership declines suggest beginning of end for juggernaut
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 21, 2008 8:19 AM CDT
In this Thursday, March 6, 2008 file photo, contestant Kristy Lee Cook attends the American Idol annual Top 12 Party in West Hollywood, Calif.    (AP Photo/Phil McCarten)
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(Newser) – Ratings monster “American Idol” is showing viewership cracks in its seventh season, and rival networks are circling, hoping to steal some of the more than 20 million viewers who tune into the Fox hit each week, reports the Los Angles Times. “Idol” viewership among women 18 to 34 is off 20%, and Tuesday’s show was the lowest-rated among 18- to 49-year-olds in five years.

“Idol” is off 7% from last season, not bad considering the rest of network television is showing a 10% decline. Fox execs say the show has held up remarkably well, but add they’re not surprised it’s slipping as shows tend to peak between the fifth and seventh season. “Everything has a sell-by date,” says the executive producer.