Preliminary Nielsen figures showed a more precipitous drop in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic — 18 percent. The Fox show, TV's most popular for several years, scored a 9.7 rating in the demo, compared to 11.8 last year. The numbers have been declining 10 percent to 15 percent for five years.
Nonetheless, the show remains miles ahead of the competition.
There was bad news, too, for Paula Abdul and CBS' Live to Dance: It attracted 5.3 million viewers, down from last week's 6.5 million. The show starring the former Idol judge did worse against Idol than The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarried last year.
Also at 8/7c, The Middle finished second with 8.7 million (down from 10.5 million last week when the competition was all reruns), while Minute to Win It got 5.1 million on NBC and a Nikita rerun snagged nearly 1.6 million.
In prime time's second hour, Criminal Minds was runner-up to Idol, with 12.1 million, while Modern Family garnered 11.1 million. NBC's Chase nabbed 4.3 million (and a series-low 1.0 demo) and a Hellcats rerun pulled in 814,000. Cougar Town got 6.1 million at 9:30.
At 10, Blue Bloods took over The Defenders' slot on CBS — and nearly doubled its predecessor's audience. The New York-based cop/family show pulled in nearly 12.2 million, compared to the 6.5 million the Las Vegas-set lawyer program got last week. Blue Bloods also improved 17 percent from its Friday average.