'Idol' viewership down as Cowell nears finale

http://news-updations.blogspot.com/NEW YORK — The Simon Cowell era of "American Idol" is sputtering to a close on Fox.

Viewership of the annual contest that has dominated television for much of the past decade is off. The Nielsen Co. said that the 19.4 million people who watched last Tuesday represented a 17 % decline from the same week in 2009. Wednesday's show was off 10 %.

"Idol" is coming back to the pack. The 2 airings were still the 2nd- and 3rd-most popular prime-time programs last week, but ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" was No. 1.

The caustic Cowell, "American Idol's" most dominant celebrity, announced in January this would be his final season. He is doing it without his frequent foil, Paula Abdul, who was replaced by Ellen Degeneres.

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