17 January 2013 12:23 PM, PST | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Fox‘s reality chief Mike Darnell, well known for his premiere anxiety, slept only an hour last night, nervously awaiting the ratings for the Season 12 debut of American Idol  with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. When they came in this morning, Idol posted a 6.0/16 among Adults 18-49 and 17.9 million viewers, down 19% from last year’s opener but still higher-rated in the demo than ABC, NBC and CBS combined. “I’m relieved this morning,” Darnell said. “We knew the show would be down but god bless it did a very good number; it was much bigger than The Voice’s premiere.” He attributed the decline, despite the infusion of new judges, to having two singing competition series both in the fall (The Voice, X Factor) and the spring (The Voice, American Idol), in addition to America’s Got Talent in the summer. As a result, “they are all eroding, »

- NELLIE ANDREEVA

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