'Idol' crush: 'Survivor' premiere lowest-rated ever

survivor-redemption-islandImage Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSOuch. For the first time ever, Survivor premiered against American Idol. Guess how that turned out?

On one hand, CBS’ Survivor, well, survived — any network will take 11.2 million viewers and a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating against Fox’s pet Death Star. But Survivor: Redemption Island was down 29 percent from a year ago and had its lowest-rated opener ever. Though last night’s episode was light years more compelling than any hour last season, another factor may have been the previous cycle disappointing fans.

As for Idol (22.8 million, 8.1), the two-hour behemoth was merely dented, down only 4 percent from last week, but the show also hit a Wednesday low.

CBS had better news at 10 p.m., with the series premiere of spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (12.8 million, 3.2). That went quite well, improving slightly on its Criminal Minds (12.9 million, 3.3) lead-in and easily winning the hour. In third, ABC had across-the-board declines: The Middle (8 million, 2.3), Better With You (5.9 million, 1.8), Modern Family (10.5 million, 4.3), and Mr. Sunshine (7 million, 2.6). Matthew Perry’s Sunshine dropped 30 percent from its premiere last week. Off the Map (4.3 million, 1.5) aired at 10 p.m. and hit a series low.

NBC recently decided to make Minute to Win It (3.6 million, 1.0) two hours after the show spiked one week, but last night, against the increased reality competition, it dropped dramatically — 41 percent — to a series low. At 10 p.m., Law & Order: SVU (7.3 million, 2.2) was down 15 percent.


Comments (111 total) Add your comment
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  • sara

    Hah! Now, there’s a shocker. The Rob and Russell show has cost the show viewers. Anyone with half a brain could have predicted this.

    • Snsetblaze

      I guess that all those people on the internet boards who said they would not watch since Russell and Rob were being trotted out yet again, meant it. While I watched it (actually watched both – thanks DVR), I did not find it that great with the two of them.

      • meliot

        I watched it too and thought it was fantastic! TC was the best ever. Regardless whether you hate the Rob/Russell additions this year, it is going to be a spectacular showdown. Go Rob!

      • David

        Actually, I thought the addition of Rob and Russell worked quite well with the new game mechanics. The whole Redemption Island thing both makes players hesitant to vote for a strong player (See above) – fearing they will come back to bite them; yet at the same time – making a move for one of them isn’t as risky; making players simultaneously willing to try to vote them out early, yet afraid of it. The first episode was a great example – especially with an idol find and use in the first TC, with the big and utter failure of the move for Rob. Phil chickened because he pissed off those two, knew it , and got paranoid. Can’t wait to see who battles it out in the first Redemption duel next week. Imho, that is the real first episode of this season – will be awesome no matter what happens.

      • Jhosef

        , your question is best ansrewed by the urologist who did your surgery. There may be specific reasons around your particular anatomy or surgical outcome that would define the answer in a way entirely different than for most men. Indeed, the more basic challenge for you is to find a way to feel comfortable asking this important question, and any others like it. Many men feel uncomfortable coming out to their doctor you certainly share many brothers in that! Unfortunately, coming out to your doctor around sexual treatment planning post radical prostatectomy is one of the musts prostate cancer patients need to achieve. You might also find some comfort from asking your question in our online support group on yahoo I will email you an invitation to join.

    • Aaron

      I can guarantee you that the second episode will be much higher rated then the second episode of Nicaragua.

      • AK

        Ratings for last cycle didn’t start falling until near the end.

      • AMc

        Don’t count on it, so-o-o tired of Rob/Russell. I can’t stand watching the ads let alone a whole episode of that.

      • Nataly

        it was most likely hprstoaeemmia and to wait a couple of months to see if it went away it didn’t. Then I went to a urologist who, upon a DRE, noticed the slight asymetry. My prostate density was 20 with a PSA of 2.2 (It had gone up from 1.7 six months earlier). My CT was clear except for the note of the asymetry.My 2nd opinion suggested the same surgery for me. The surgeon said that he won’t know the extent of it until he gets in there to see it and that he can’t assure me that he can spare my nerve bundles until he sees where the cancer is located. Is there anyway to tell that beforehand? My concern is what if they don’t get it all? Is there any way to tell if it’s in any of the surrounding areas? My Doc said I could take 3 to 6 months to decide. I wanted to do some things like go to NYC to spend some time with my daughter, check out the sites, etc. but now I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to wait. I know my life is going to be very different afterwards. I’m just not sure how different and how to plan for it.

    • subarcticjoe

      I think the real reason is lack of advertising. I almost missed survivor last night because I had forgotten the date that was advertised at last seasons finale. I didn’t see one commercial promoting yesterdays premier… and no I don’t live under a rock. Glad I caught it as it was one of the best episodes in a long time. This show needs to be two hours long!

    • AK

      Oh sara, be realistic. That was all the work of “American Idol.” As frustrated as veteran fans may have been by Rob and Russell returning AGAIN, most of them aren’t going to simply give up on the show because of it.

      • J

        I did.

      • AMc

        So did I.

      • Mitch

        I quit watching too, and I’ve watched all of the other seasons twice.

      • Jaimes ????

        A former super duper fan of Survivor, and I didn’t bother to watch the premiere either.

      • Chris

        It’s not American Idol for me. It’s Russell. I will NOT watch him again. He’s disgusting.

      • Eolra

        I did too. Been watching since the first season, and this is the first season I’m not watching.

      • DJSO

        For all the people that didn’t watch it, you missed out. The first episode was great! I personally like the Rob and Russell showdown.

    • cici217

      with Live to Dance now off the air, this is still a win-win for CBS

      • Nasser

        I was diagnosed with PC on December 23rd 2011. I’m 53 and in good heatlh well, was Now I am being told that, based on my Gleason score of 6 and the minimal extent of it all, that I should have a nerve-sparing robotic prostectomy man! I was not prepared for that news! Nor was I prepared for all the potential risks involved. I’m trying not to be consumed by all this but dont have a good feeling as to where my mental state (and physical state) is heading. I want to make a good decision but am really scared.. I am fortunate to have a partner who loves me but i don’t think he realizes what’s coming either . Going to another urologist today to see what he thinks are my best options and will try to make that seemingly impossible choice.

    • bev

      I watched both. I don’t have TIVO, and since idol doesn’t really air full episodes online, I watched idol live then watched survivor this morning. (Loved BOTH, BTW). Wonder who else did the same thing…numbers can be misleading

    • tom porter

      Who wants to watch Bob & Russel AGAIN. Your running the show into the ground, they were NOT liked Before so why bring them Back, for the 3 or 4 time. DUH

      • Lisa

        Tom, I like both Rob and Russell, and I do like seeing them again. I do agree that if they’re going to use All-Stars, they should use a few different ones occasionally, but there’s very few players with the ability of those 2. And I did like Nicaragua last year. I will faithfully watch Survivor every season.

    • SurvivorFan

      No American Idol cost them viewers.

  • Mike

    American Idol machine keeps on chugging along. This proves nothing can really get in the way of the ratings king.

    Its a shame because this season of AI sucks, whereas the new Survivor looks like its going to be a good one.

    • alaina

      Are you serious? I LOVE this season of American Idol, the talent is so much better then last season.

  • Jethro

    Viewers are not DUMB! We have made it very public we are Rob & Russell haters, so why would we tune in.

    Survivor should be finding new
    R & R’s.! I hope AI continues to squash this over-rated, over-hyped, and over-exposed show!

    • TorontoTom

      Hey Jethro Beaudine – why don’t you give the show a viewing and see what you think? I’ve watched every season of Survivor and last night’s was the BEST SEASON OPENER EVER! I think that when former fans who ASSUMED it would suck with R&R hear that it is better than ever, you might see it taking a chunk of Idol’s ratings away. I’m a fan of both shows but at this point SURVIVOR is my Wednesday night show!

    • teresa

      But it wasn’t all about Rob and Russell. Start watching again so the show isn’t canceled. There’s nothing else on to watch.

      • Jak

        11 million total viewers and a 3.2 in adults 18-49. The show is in no way in danger of being canceled. Though it should be.

      • TorontoTom

        It should be, huh? Why – so we can free up some more airtime for Real Housewives of Wherever? More Kardashian sisters? More Unwed Teen Mother Crackhead?
        I love the social element of the game of Survivor so leave it where it is!

    • Lee

      But they’re not finding new R & R’s with “amateurs” like Kristina, Francesca and that ex-federal agent. Where does Survivor get these players??? I think they got these horrible players to make Rob and Russell look good. Or easy for them. Based on the first episode, I am NOT impressed with Survivor this season. It amazes me how it consistenly fails to get really good strategic players. It didn’t have any last season (a surfer dude won!). And I don’t see any this season so far.

      • Elizabeth

        California – if you look at the listing, all but like… three are from good ‘ol CA. They need to mix it up a bit.

      • Gator

        I disagree somewhat with your “no strategic players” stance – Kristina proved to be a very strategic player by 1) Finding a hidden immunity idol on her own with no clues (everybody seemed to praise Russell when he did it, but Kristina is ignored…??), and 2) Wanting to get rid of Rob right away. That would be the wisest move their tribe could make.

        For the record, I will continue to watch this season of Survivor, as I have with every other previous season, despite the tired, unwelcome participation of Rob and Russell. Shame on the producers and Jeff Probst for shoving these overrated losers down our throats yet again. Neither one has won the game, and that will not change this season either. Enough already!

  • Geri

    loved it and can’t wait for the next show – Russell and Rob – what better combo than that?

    • Jaimes ????

      Jonathan Libby and Wanda Shirk.

  • GS

    I chose to DVR Survivor since I was working and the hubby wanted to watch something besides AI. While I like JLo and Steven Tyler, I’m just bored with AI and I really wish they’d have left it where it was on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday sucks. I’ll be watching Survivor and Vampire Diaries.

  • Kate

    Well, I was torn, I prefer Survivor, but usually the first episode, there are just too many people to keep track of, I don’t know the difference between the tribe names yet versus the mess that is Hollywood Week, usually the only week I watch until the top ten or twelve start. I would be curious what the ratings were at the half way mark because once I determined it was just backstage drama for the first 45 minutes, I flipped back to Survivor primarily.

  • bruno

    i don’t think it has anything to do witht he previous sruvivor cycle disapppointing. i think it has more to do with a bunch of awfulo twists no one but probst is excited about, like bringing a certain troll back. 3 out of the past four seasons? really? boo.

  • Al

    I watched it but I’m not really happy about repeatedly bringing back the same old faces or about the new twist. If you are voted out you should be gone, for the current Survivor and for future Survivors. Otherwise, the stakes are not as high.

  • Flip

    I don’t get the hate for Boston Rob (love him and Amber), but I can’t stand Russell. Are they just going to keep forcing him down our throats til he wins and his ego is thoroughly stroked? Come on!
    That being said, the premiere was really good and Tribal Council was amazing.

    • LiLa

      Agree on all points. Great start to the season. Tribal council was hilarious!

    • Lisa

      Flip, if that were to happen, Russell would be on like every other season, because he’s probably not going to win. This season is probably his best chance.

  • wizard62

    It has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that Survivor is now up against AI, the highest rated show on television. Naturally it was going to take a hit in the ratings. There’s no way of kowing if adding Rob/Russell hurt or helped the show unless they move it to another time period away from Idol. Personally, I like the new twist’s to the game. If last night’s premiere/tribal council was any indication, this is gonna be a great season of Survivor. Haters, go away!

  • Jeff in Co

    is there any chance this waste of space show will ever be cancelled..forcing the network to finally produce some decent scripted programming vs scripted reality garbage! Death to Survivor, Amazing Race, DWTS, American Idol, The bachelor…etc!

    • Allobidallo

      Well Jeff, let’s see. All those shows you mentioned are cheaper to make than scripted shows and have excellent ratings. So therefore I do not see any of them dying anytime soon. I also find it funny that you comment on an article having to do with two reality shows duking it out when you hate reality TV. Interesting.

  • CaliJ

    It was a really good first episode of Survivor,while AI has absolutely nothing new to offer.It has become a format more tired then any other on television.I haven’t or would never buy a single piece of music any of the AI winners ever produced.
    I’m kind of burnt out on Rob & Russell as well but they’ll be gone and we will have great drama once again.

    • Lee

      I think it’s sad that Survivor viewers like CallJ is more concerned with “drama” than “strategy.” That’s why Survivor has been going downhill. And, no, CallJ, I did not think last nite’s episode was “good.” I thought it was bloody awful. What was so great about seeing amateurs or unstrategic players at action?!

  • Pete

    Survivor was off to a great start, minus Russell being back again to annoy the crap out of us viewers. But AI was awful. That was a 1 hour episode at best, stretched to a gruelling and painful two. And enough with the shots of the judges supposedly choosing who to keep, as if they’re actually making the call and haven’t been prompted by producers on who is going through.

  • James

    I don’t like having 3 people in the final, and I don’t want to see Rob or Russell again. I’ve given up on Survivor for good until they go back to 16 contestants. I don’t like seeing juries cop out and vote for natalies and sandras. Its shameless and ruins a perfectly good season.

  • Bubby

    It’s been over a decade now and they have not increased the prize money. One mil is bupkus baby esp after taxes. Increase the prize and get the devils spawn the hell out of there.

    • Bob

      What taxes? Richard Hatch got 1 mil, no taxes.

      • Flip

        And now he’s in jail!

    • Allobidallo

      Yeah, make it 2 mil now. Not like they’d be losing money. They’ll probably have more audition tapes they can throw out and cast people in bars and stuff.

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