'American Idol' vs. 'Dancing With the Stars': Let the ratings battle begin

idol-vs-dwts-ratings-320.jpgRemember last year around this time, when there was a flurry of "OMG! 'Dancing With the Stars' totally beat 'American Idol' in the ratings!" stories? Yeah -- get ready for that again.

"Dancing With the Stars" premiered to almost 22.7 million viewers on Monday (March 21), and unless "Idol" improves on its numbers from last week (22.58 million viewers), it will lose its crown as the most-watched show on TV. At least briefly.

There's likely to be a good amount of back-and-forth jockeying between the two hit shows in the coming weeks. "Dancing" will likely fade a little bit, because as with almost every competition show ("Idol" included), some people tend to tune out in between the premiere and the final weeks. "Idol's" Wednesday performance show has stayed fairly steady in the past three weeks (22.8 million, 24.4 million, 22.58 million), and if it keeps that up it will likely move ahead of "Dancing" once again.

One thing that almost certainly won't happen, though, is "Dancing" unseating "American Idol" from the top of the adults 18-49 demographic. Monday's "DWTS" scored a 5.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, but that's likely to be the show's high-water mark until the finale (its fall season followed that pattern, anyway). At any rate, while a 5.3 rating is very strong, it's nowhere near the 7.6 "Idol's" Wednesday show put up last week.

Even in the likely event that "Idol's" demographics do fall some in the next few weeks, they won't slide so much that they fall behind "Dancing" or any other show. So while the total-viewer crown may change hands a time or two between now and the end of the season, "American Idol" will most likely keep a lock on its No. 1 spot in the demographic race.

"Idol's" season-long crown isn't in any danger either. The Wednesday show is averaging a little over 26 million viewers (including delayed viewing) and a 9.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Nielsen combines the numbers for the two cycles of "Dancing"; the fall edition averaged about 21.4 million viewers and a 4.6 in the demo.
Photo/Video credit: FOX, ABC
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