'American Idol' hits crazy low

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The Great American Idol Ratings Limbo Contest of 2013 continued Thursday night.

Cue up the festive steel-drum music: The former reality titan once again cleared an even lower Nielsen bar. Only 11 million viewers tuned in. More remarkably, the show only had a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, down 7 percent from last week. For mere mortal shows, a 2.5 rating is acceptable — and would be downright great if you’re, say, ABC’s Friday night reality series Shark Tank. But for Idol, a program that utterly dominated the broadcast entertainment series rankings for many years, this is a crazy low.

When Idol was first beat by CBS’ Big Bang Theory last year it was big news. Thursday night, Idol was topped by Big Bang plus CBS’ Two and a Half Men, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and ABC’s Scandal, with CBS’ Person of Interest right on its heels, and nobody is probably all that surprised. Can anything turn around Idol?

Meanwhile, NBC had a mixed night. On one hand, its comedies rose in the ratings across the board. Community was up 20 percent, an hour-long Office climbed 6 percent and the season finale of Parks & Recreation shot up 15 percent. Yet none of these ratings were actually good and then there was 10 p.m.’s freshman drama Hannibal.

The serial killer thriller marks an unfortunate benchmark for the network — it’s one of 13 scripted shows on NBC to post a gutter-ball 1.1 rating or lower with an original episode this season (the others are 1600 Penn, Do No Harm, 30 Rock, Community, Up All Night, Animal Practice, Whitney, Guys With Kids, Deception, Go On, Smash and The New Normal). A couple years ago, falling to a 1.1 rating was like touching an electrified third rail of instant cancellation. Now it’s more like, “Eh, the show still does okay when you pair it with The Voice...”

The rest: Grey’s was up 7 percent and Scandal was down 7 percent (these two soaps often don’t trend in the same direction, which is unusual). Big Bang was steady, while Men was up 11 percent, POI and Elementary were flat. CW’s Vampire Diaries was down a tenth.

Full Chart:

 ADULT DEMO RANKING ADULTS 18-49 RATING  TOTAL VIEWERS (+000)
FOX 8-9P AMERICAN IDOL #5 2.5 10,976
9-10P GLEE #8t 1.8 5,228
ABC 8-9P WIFE SWAP #12 1.1 3,623
9-10P GREY ANATOMY #3 2.9 8,498
10-11P SCANDAL #4 2.6 8,134
CBS 8:00P BIG BANG #1 4.6 15,691
8:30P TWO&HALF MEN #2 3.1 11,899
9-10P PERSON-INTEREST #6 2.4 12,756
10-11P ELEMENTARY #7 2.0 9,500
NBC 8:00P COMMUNITY #11 1.2 2,799
830-930P OFFICE #8t 1.8 3,466
9:30P PARK & REC #10 1.5 2,892
10-11P HANNIBAL #13 1.0 2,508
CW 8-9P VAMPIRE DIARIES #14 0.9 2,130
9-10P BEAUTY&BEAST #15 0.5 1,255
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