ABC is picking a Dance War with Fox, touting a total viewer victory for "Dancing with the Stars" over "American Idol" last week.
The Alphabet network, which once led the way in declaring the supremacy of adults 18-49 as the most important metric when discussing ratings, now apparently believes total viewers is also a completely cool way to judge a show’s success. (MoJoe was once told by a now-departed ABC leader that he didn’t even look at total viewer figures anymore.)
But last week, "DWTS" planted its sequined heel firmly in the well-toned behind of "Idol," bringing in more viewers (23 million, if you’re counting) than both editions of "Idol" for the first time ever. This was enough for ABC Disney media relations professionals to get the (total viewer) religion.
The network made this "Idol" slaying the lead of its weekly ratings release, touting that it was the first time in almost five years that a regularly-scheduled TV series averaged a bigger audience than both editions of "Idol." (To be fair, ABC made almost as much noise about placing 5 shows in the demo top 10).
In addition to shouting about this via press release, MoJoe hears that ABC has been pushing the "DWTS" viewer victory to some consumer-focused news outlets over the past few days. (Yes, Virginia, networks are not modest when it comes to touting their victories — or noting others’ failings.)
When brought to the attention of the folks at Fox, they responded with a simple, "Dawg?!"
No, actually, the network noted that the real story of the "DWTS" viewer tally was that those total viewers were, like, totally old. As in: 60 percent of the "DWTS" audience is over 50 (ewwww…ancient!), while just 37 percent of the "Idol" audience qualifies for AARP membership. (Wait, that many old folks watch "Idol"? Hmmm… somebody better tell Mike Darnell to scheduled a Bieber theme night, stat.)
The Fox folks also note that when you average the perfomance plus results show audiences for both "Idol" and "DWTS," "Idol" still outdraws "DWTS" — albeit by a slim 6 percent (R.I.P. , "Idol" juggernaut.)
So who really wins in a dust-up like this? Duh: Media bloggers like MoJoe, who get a chance to write about SEO-friendly shows such as "Idol" and "DWTS."