'American Idol': Ellen gives Hollywood round a small ratings bump

ellen-degeneres-idol-hollywood-320.jpgThe debut of Ellen DeGeneres as an "American Idol" judge was a successful one. She's gotten mostly good reviews from critics, and she gave the show a ratings boost too.

Depending on which set of numbers you use to compare to Tuesday's "Idol" -- last week's or last year's -- DeGeneres and the start of the Hollywood round gave the show either a sizable or smallish bounce in the Nielsens. The gains over the Tuesday, Feb. 2 show are pretty impressive -- 3 million viewers (27.7 million vs. 24.7 million) and a full ratings point (10.1 vs. 9.0) in the 18-49 demographic -- and FOX notes that Tuesday's episode was the show's second-highest rated of the season, behind the premiere.

How much of that was due to the presence of DeGeneres vs. the fact that the long slog of the audition phase was over is impossible to say, but it's a healthy bump nonetheless.

Tuesday's show also improved on the opening of 2009's Hollywood round -- just not by much. It grew by 4 percent in viewers compared to the Feb. 3, 2009 telecast (which drew 26.6 million people) and is currently a tenth of a point ahead of last year's Hollywood opener (FOX projects Tuesday's show to add another tenth of a point in the final ratings.)

The bump for "Idol" did not carry over to its lead-out, a preview of the new series "Past Life." The show lost two-thirds of its lead-in and finished with just over 9 million viewers and a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49. It also suffered a good-sized dropoff in its second half-hour.

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Photo credit: FOX
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