May 24, 2012 / 10:45 PM / 6 years ago

"American Idol" finale gets record low TV audience

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The “American Idol” finale brought in the lowest TV audience of its 11-year history with just 21.5 million Americans tuning in to watch indie singer Phillip Phillips clinch the title, according to ratings data on Thursday.

Phillip Phillips is hugged by Jessica Sanchez after he was named the winner by host Ryan Seacrest (R) during the 11th season finale of "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California May 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The singing contest, once a TV industry juggernaut for Fox which attracted more than 30 million viewers for its finale in its 2006 and 2007 heyday, was the most-watched program on U.S. television on Wednesday night.

But audiences dropped by about 32 percent compared to last year’s season finale, Nielsen data showed.

Fox executives said earlier this month that the audience drop-off this season had been greater than they anticipated and said that several tweaks were in the works to freshen the format for 2013.

Fox is a unit of News Corp.

Reporting By Jill Serjeant; editing by Patricia Reaney

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