01/20/2012 01:25 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2012

'American Idol' Ratings Down, Season 11 Debut Dips

"American Idol" continued to dip in the ratings Thursday night, with 17.7 million viewers and a 5.7 in the coveted 18-49 demo. For the first half-hour, CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," which celebrated its 100th episode Thursday night, topped "Idol" in the demo; but "Idol" surged to a 6.1 rating from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

While "Idol" -- and Fox -- came out on top for the night, the numbers were still down 19 percent from the Wednesday night Season 11 premiere ratings, and down 27 percent from the first Thursday episode of last season.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the "American Idol" franchise? Well, not quite. "American Idol" does tend to dip from its first night to its second, which means that the reality show's Thursday night drop was proportional to its premiere ratings. Although "Idol" faces tougher competition on Thursday nights, its ratings tie with CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" may mean future trouble for the reality show.

However, the real question is whether "Idol" will retain its audience or whether it will continue to drop during the audition stages.

Will you be tuning in?

"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox. Do you still watch "American Idol"? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us @HuffPostTV. Here's what our followers have to say. Do you agree?

Are You Still Watching 'American Idol'?