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“Idol” Takes 25 Percent Slide Here

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 06:  Actor Jon Hamm...

Jon Hamm

The glory days of “American Idol” seem to be over in Western New York.

As predicted here Wednesday, the karaoke singing competition series took a big hit locally for its two-hour premiere.

The premiere had an 11.0 rating (representing 11 percent of area TVs) on Fox affiliate WUTV, which was down about 25 percent from the 14.9 rating the 2011 premiere had on the station. The 25 percent hit was considerably above the reported 17 percent national decline for the premiere.

However, the local rating comes with some asterisks. A year ago, the “Idol” premiere didn’t have to compete with a Buffalo Sabres game on cable. And while the 11.0 rating isn’t close to the ratings for popular CBS shows in WNY, “Idol” remains the top-rated regular Fox series locally by far. And it remains a significant demographic hit.

It is difficult to determine how much audience “Idol” lost to the Sabres game with Chicago Wednesday because the Fox show would appear to draw from a different audience. The Sabres 6-2 loss to Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) had a 7.7 local rating. It beat “Modern Family,” ABC’s popular and award-winning comedy, which averaged a 7.4 rating.

Thursday’s hour-long installment of “Idol” at 8 p.m. dropped to a 10.0 rating on WUTV, down about 30 percent from the 13.3 rating a year ago. It finished second in the first half hour of its time slot to CBS’ “Big Bang Theory,” which had a 16.6 rating on Channel 4.

It is too early to predict how low “Idol” will go this season. Judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson certainly did everything they could Wednesday to tell the audience that this year’s crop of singers is better than that of years past as they passed several performers in a row on to Hollywood.

Wondering what the highest-rated TV program of last week was in WNY? That’s easy. It was the New York Giants upset of Green Bay Sunday in the NFC playoffs with a preliminary rating of 29.2 on WUTV, almost three times the “Idol” audience. Baltimore’s Sunday win over Houston had a 24.0 preliminary rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. As usual, the two Saturday games had lower ratings here. San Francisco’s victory over New Orleans in the best game of the weekend had a 21.8  preliminary rating on WUTV. The lowest football rating of the weekend was New England’s romp over Denver and Tim Tebow on Channel 4 with a 19.9. Buffalo fans found out weeks earlier that Tebow Magic was an illusion when the Bills beat the Broncos.

AMC announced a week ago ( a few days after star Jon Hamm) during the Television Critics Association meetings in Pasadena, Calif. that the return of “Mad Men” will be Sunday, March 25, but for some reason it became a big Twitter item Thursday. Showtime  also announced last week that “Nurse Jackie,’ “The Big C” and “The Borgias” will return Sunday, April 8.

Meanwhile, NBC announced that the two-hour premiere of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” has been moved back a week to Feb. 19 and that “Harry’s Law” will move to 8 p.m. Sunday on March 11.

Melissa Holmes reported on Facebook Thursday that she probably will make her debut Monday as Channel 2′s 10 p.m. anchor on WNYO-TV.

pergament@msn.com

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