Although the season premiere of American Idol won the night, the media is all abuzz over the drop in ratings. Over 30 million people tuned in to watch Simon, Paula and Randy weed through the untalented masses, which is an 11% drop in ratings from the same period last year. Some online and print articles attribute the decline in viewership to a general decline due the strike, but most are squawking about the death of the show and its ratings stranglehold.
It would be easy to read such a sharp drop-off in viewers as the beginning of the end for Idol, but this diagnosis seems premature to me. Most avid TV watchers I know aren't really watching TV as much as they were before the strike. I'm personally devouring HBO's Rome, and not missing my regular fix of network television. (On a side note, Rome is one of the best TV shows I've seen in years.) Even though I'd love to see the rejects from Idol, I'm less likely to tune in, as the strike has dulled my interests. It would seem a few million people also share my feelings.