January 13th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

'Idol' premiere No. 1 in ratings

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Some “Idol” fans may be wringing their hands over the loss of Paula Adbul and the impending exit of Simon Cowell, but that apparently didn’t stop folks from tuning in to the premiere.

The most successful show on television scored big Tuesday night with 29.8 million viewers and a first place showing in the Nielsen ratings.

That was far ahead of second place finisher, “NCIS” (CBS), which reached 20.7 million, and “The Good Wife” (CBS) in third place with 8.1 million.

Pretty impressive numbers given the fact that viewers are just tuning in to see wannabe contestants try out (some rather badly) for a chance to go to Hollywood and score a shot at actually making it into the competition.

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. igal

    Hey, I have NO idea how I managed to miss BOTH Tuesday's and Wednesday's airings. Could anyone PLEASE tell me if you know of a re-airing of these episodes on TV any time soon??

    May God bless you!!

    January 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mel

    I do miss paula and that new one that came on last year is so angry and so rude also..simon and paula made the show for sure with their banter together that was so funny the two of them going at each other all the time I will miss that this year...X FACTOR paula and simon WOW cant wait for that...keep american idol and roll on the X factor that way older folks that are so talented will get a chance to sing their hearts out also....cant wait for simon to bring that to USA..

    January 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hippiechick

    Having been to a taping of Idol last year, watching Paula have to be helped on and off the stage because she was either drunk or stoned, I don't miss her at all. Once you're there in the audience and see what they are all really like, you have a new appreciation for the others.

    January 14, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. concerned artist

    Loved Posh; hated Mary.
    I remember Mary J. Blige singing a duet with Elliott Yamin and completely ignoring him.
    I think Mary is too pretentious to be judging anyone but herself.

    January 14, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. J

    OK John, please explain why Ellen is a freak? Is it because she doesn't fall into your, or society's, definition of "normal"? I am not gay and can't say I promote it, but I do NOT judge anyone's actions, as i am not perfect myself. I am very thankful that I am open minded enough to see that people should be treated equally regardless of their life choices, skin color, etc.

    She might not have a grammy award and not be the best choice for analyzing music; however, she does know ENTERTAINMENT and how to be an effective PERFORMER having her own Emmy nominated show for YEARS! I think she would make a very effective judge on the panel and actually provides a fresh opinion of what a performer should be.

    I never thought Paula Abdul could sing, and I grew up in the era with her Grammy nominated songs. I take nothing from her ability to perform, but she is not my idea of a great musician by far. If you want to put real judges on that show you would have the likes of Prince, Madonna, Harry Connick, Jr. – just to name a few. They are musicians who know how to write and sing their music and have done so successfully for years. But they would never agree to waste their valuable time doing this show. I like the show to a certain point but not enough to think that someone of their calilber would ever agree to do it.

    It boils down to this – if you like what they have done with the show, watch it. If not, turn the channel...

    January 14, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gina

    I agree, it is not the same without Paula. I am still watching right now for the auditions, but dont know if I will continue watching after Ellen starts. If Simon does leave, I dont believe I will even watch the auditions next season.

    January 14, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tor

    Maybe it should be pointed out that probably a lot of others like myself watched because there wasnt anything else on to watch. In the coming weeks when shows return to regular programming I am sure the numbers will plummet.

    January 14, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Votefortheworst.com

    This show caters to the lowest of the low. If you are actually watching this nonsense I feel sorry for you.

    If you like this show you deserve what you are getting.

    January 14, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. wells carol anne

    american idol needs to be canceled due to apaul gone (i hate kara) and simon is leaving-i watch other programs

    January 14, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jan

    I watched IDOL on Tuesday and taped NCIS–I might miss crazy Paula but I think the everyone is holdingt their own–watching the judges at this point is as fun as the contestants. I'll keep watching and give Ellen a chance!

    January 14, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ro Pizziatolla

    The American Idol is very entertaining. There is alot of talent in some of the young folk performing. I will continue watching the show.
    It's not only what the judges have to say about the performers, it's how the American public votes.

    January 14, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mihlali J

    Honestly idols would be a bore without Simon,as for Paula,dont really miss her!

    January 14, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Peggy Sue

    The first show was great. Kara cut her teeth on Idol last year so it seems normal to see her there. Randy and Simon and Kara were a fine team; I didn't miss Paula at all which surprised me. she had gotten to be such an energy drain. The auditions went by faster and cleaner than before. Simon was in a great mood because he didn't have to argue with Paula the whole time. I think it's going to be a great year. We need to reserve judgement for Ellen until she's on the show! Then let the discussion begin!

    January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pele

    Not so sure about Ellen. Why are American so fascinated to look up to people that are on the same level...I am thinking Palin here. If you want someone's opinion, shouldn't they be versed on the subject? If you want an uneducated opinion, asked the person sitting next to you.

    January 14, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Thos

    I honestly don't understand how people can watch this trash. It's an over exaggerated, age & looks discriminating karaoke contest.

    January 14, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  16. Jennie

    I watched NCIS. I enjoy Idol but not enough to skip my favorite show. I did watch the first hour of Idol last night but then changed to Criminal Minds. The auditions are funny but the good stuff doesn't really start til after Hollywood week. However, this is moot because they changed the time slot and I will be watching NCIS all season as opposed to Idol. Too bad, cuz I really got into it last year. Fox screwed that move up.

    January 14, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  17. Jack G

    Paula was basically an idiot and mos of her comments were out in left field. Ellen could be a great addition as long as she does not "self promote" as she does on her show every day. I actually stopped watching her show because I got sick of hearing about her in "O" Magazine. American Idol still reigns as one of the best shows on television.

    January 14, 2010 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  18. Larry in Iowa

    Colin – You apparently have never seen "My Mother The Car".

    Isn't this just Kirk vs. Picard, Joel vs. Mike and Dick York vs. Dick Sargent all over again? People tend to buck change. I miss Paula, but I'll watch. For me, the show has been about the singers, their stories and watching them (hopefully) develop over the course of the show.

    January 14, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jana

    Not sad to see Paula gone. She was a nice person, but annoying to say the least. Simon makes the show anyway. I see it crumbling after he leaves. In the 9 years this show has been on I have had two kids, so I don't get to watch it as often, but it is entertaining all the same.

    January 14, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  20. DillyRat

    Simon is the only judge that told the truth 99.99998% of the time

    January 14, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  21. MM

    I am glad Paula is gone. Now soon as weird Ellen is gone, I will enjoy the show much better. Simon you Rock.

    January 14, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  22. Boddleblonde

    I'll actually watch now that Paula is gone. Love you Ellen!

    January 14, 2010 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  23. Liz

    John...Why do you call Ellen a freak? She's hilarious! I personally don't watch much Idol, but with Ellen there, I just might tune in a little more!

    January 14, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  24. peteypie

    I enjoy the show and think that Ellen will be great as the new judge.
    She is witty, in tune with the new music scene and will work well with all of the other judges. The show will be just as good if not better.

    January 14, 2010 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
  25. John

    As soon as that freak Ellen is on, I'm done watching

    January 14, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  26. Squeen

    Ok, Bringing ellen on is idiotic.She may like music and like alot of it,does not mean she is the right person for the job.shes not in the music industry like all the other judges are.Simon leaving is gonna hurt the show but she's gonna make it worse!!

    January 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Idol Fan

    I do believe that this show is more about the contestants! Of course i love the original judges and i am sure that most of us do but the real reason to watch American Idol is because of the competition and opportunity it gives those who want to fullfill their dreams and those of us who love to watch them do so, not because of Paula or Simon. We the viewers are the real judges on this show and i am not going anywhere 😉

    January 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Colin

    The sooner this rubbish called "Idol" ends, the better. The biggest load of rubbish to appear on our TV screens.

    January 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mel

    I do believe that once Simon does leave and starts his own show – Idol WILL have serious competition. Yes, I still enjoyed the show last night...but it felt wrong without Paula. The three original judges were a huge part of what made the show successful – they had great vibes together. And that was definitely missing last night. I personally love Paula Abdul and it has always bothered me how people get on her case. But think about it...if Simon and Paula do pair up again as judges on the X factor...unless they find someone equally as amazing as Ellen to replace Simon...I will be tuning into the X-Factor and may decide to forgo American Idol (unless Ellen is still on of course, because I love her!). I just can't see Idol surviving without Paula AND Simon. And it may be true...Ellen might be Idol's last hope.

    January 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  30. kennedy

    I love Ellen and cannot wait for her to be on the show. I honestly didn't care that Paula, but when Simon leaves it will sure be different.

    January 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Carol

    Bring Paula Back! Victoria/Ellen are no match. This show was a hit with the 3 original judges. I won't be watching.

    January 13, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Hugh

    I think Posh was great, the rolling eyes comment on Simon shut him up for at least a second.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  33. skip

    I had a decision to make last night...NCIS or the opening of 'Idol.' I watched NCIS. I tuned in for bit, saw Posh Spice look and act like a puppet, changed channels, will try again when Ellen shows up.

    January 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Johnny

    Paula was just eye candy. Her commentary was too nice and Kara isn't bad looking so we still got eye candy. Simon is a RIOT. He is the heart of the show and when he takes off, well lets just say it'll be interesting or should I say least interesting.

    I am wondering how Ellen will hold up since they're already taping those shows. She is pretty funny on her talk show, so who knows.

    As for last night's episode, it was good. I liked it. I wish Kara would have gotten up and whooped on the Clark Kent wannabe.

    January 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Lele

    Ellen does know what contestents possess star quality however...

    January 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  36. NYOB

    People!!!! Change is important. Otherwise, things get stale. Isn't that perhaps the reason Simon is leaving already? Let him go! True it will be different, but that doesn't mean we wont like it. Yes, Paula had heart, but she was also spaced out on who knows what most of the time, which for me, caused her to lack credibility. New energy on the show will make it more exciting. Ellen's presence is strong enough and will crack us all up! I agree with some that say Kara lacks a bit of heart, so consider her the new Simon. What can I tell ya. As long as all of the judges can be original in their responses, and when they agree with each other, to at least say something different, point something else out about the contestant, otherwise, it does get boring.

    January 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Guest

    America is too easily entertained. This show is garbage.

    January 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Robert

    It's not the same and I won't be watching the show without Paula.

    January 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Amy

    It was a great show last night! But the thought of Simon leaving American Idol, doesn't resonate well with me. He makes the show interesting and alive, without him the show will be boring and full of fluff!!

    January 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |

    Think they should replace simon with jay leno but have him come in 10 minutes after the other judges....probably need an extra chair for his chin.

    January 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Helene Leone

    I was one of those people that watched Idol last night.. Just hearing the opening theme song put a smile on my face. I sure did miss that show over the summer. I enjoyed it very much but I must say I do miss Paula very much.. Paula, Randy and Simon helped make the show what it is. That show is very special to me because it was the only thing after 9/11 that put a smile on my face and the thought of Simon leaving is extremely upsetting.. What's Idol without Simon?
    I feel like I will be in mourning when he leaves. I know the show is going to continue but whoever has to fill his shoes better be up for the job. He has to be British, arrogant and honest, otherwise you can kiss that show goodbye and what a shame that would be! I miss you Paula!!!!!

    January 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  42. layo

    I think that idol is not the same anymore.
    Paula is greatly missed and i dont' think ellen knows anything about music

    January 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  43. HeatherT

    I am thrilled that Paula is no longer part of the show - her comments were inane, her behavior awful. I am thrilled to see Ellen join the show - she admits she is not "in" the music industry but she knows music, loves music, she loves the show, she can handle herself against the likes of Simon without being flirty, cutesy, or whiney. Ellen will represent the "at home viewer" but have the unique ability to tell Simon when to stuff it. I was all set to skip this year's show but with Ellen, Simon, and Randy, I am keeping an open mind and now, anxiously waiting for the show to begin.

    January 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |

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