“American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” have ruled primetime in recent years, but auds may be tiring of the same old song and dance.
While their finales attracted sizable audiences as the television season wrapped last week, both were well down year to year — and the seasons themselves were the lowest-rated yet for the shows.
The conclusions of these series capped a season in which the Big Four devoted a whopping 226.5 primetime hours to six singing and dancing competitions — more than double what they served up just three years earlier (when it was only “Idol” and “Dancing”).
And the broadcasters didn’t even give America a 24-hour reprieve before diving into the summer reality pool with ABC’s “Duets,” which opened softly Thursday. It didn’t help that it was opposed on the night by Fox’s winning “So You Think You Can Dance,” which was down from last year but looked reasonably solid considering the competish.
Fox used the “Idol” finale, “Dance” preem and a solid showing for the “House” finale to easily win the May 21-27 sesh in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen, with a 2.6 rating/9 share. It was followed by ABC (1.9/6), Univision (1.5/5), NBC and TNT (both 1.3/4) and CBS (1.2/4).
Fox, which has now won seven straight weeks in 18-49, also led in both adults 25-54 (3.2/9) and total viewers (8.3 million).
Univision had a strong week, led by “Una Familia Con Suerte” (A Fortunate Family), which racked up strong numbers with its two-hour finale Wednesday (2.5/7 in 18-49, 6.06m). In addition to its third-place 18-49 finish, the net also ran second in adults 18-34 (1.8/5).
Fox highlights included Monday’s series finale of “House” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.72m), which shot up 32% week to week.
Also wrapping were “American Idol” (6.4/18, 21.49m), down 30% year to year, and “Glee” (2.9/8, 7.46m), off 37%; both shows had been trending down similarly all season. De”Idol” delivered the best scores for any entertainment telecast since the Oscars and finished as the season’s No. 1 entertainment series in 18-49 for a ninth straight year.
“So You Think You Can Dance” kicked off its season Thursday (2.4/8, 6.26m), down from last summer’s premiere but up from its finale.
ABC was led by the finales of “Modern Family” (4.1/11, 10.07m) and “Dancing With the Stars” (3.3/9, 17.75m), with the latter down 28% year to year. After “Modern” on Wednesday, rookies “Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23” (2.4/6, 5.60m) and “Revenge” (2.4/7, 7.85m) wrapped their seasons on an upswing.
On Thursday, new series “Duets,” featuring Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and others, struggled in its bow (1.7/6, 6.76m), running second to Fox’s “Dance” in key demos.
At NBC, “America’s Got Talent” was down from its premiere week but both the Tuesday (3.3/9, 14.85m) and Monday editions (3.2/10, 9.66m) finished among the week’s top 10 shows and provided the net with good counter-programming to finales on other nets.
The NBA Playoffs dominated cable for the week, including a pair of games on TNT that ranked fourth (3.7/11, 8.15m for Lakers-Thunder on Monday) and fifth (3.4/13, 7.76m for Thunder-Spurs on Sunday) for the week in 18-49.
Also of note: Animal Planet’s two-hour special “Mermaids: The Body Found,” part of Monster Week, drew 2 million viewers for its preem Sunday, becoming the net’s most-watched telecast in nearly six years; A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.56m) hit a series high in viewers Wednesday while standing as cable’s No. 1 original program of the night in key demos; and at HBO, “Girls” (868,000) outdrew lead-in “Veep” (831,000) for the first time.