American Idol is doing quite nicely in the ratings this season, even sans Simon. But you know what's doing even better — a lot better — with viewers under 35? Jersey Shore. Last night's episode of MTV's semi-scripted train wreck drew a 6.6 rating among adults 18 to 34, making it the biggest thing on TV last night with viewers in that demo — bigger even than Idol, which averaged a 5.5 Nielsen rating among the same group. The gap's even bigger with women 18 to 34: Jersey did a truly WTF-worthy 8.5 compared to a 6.7 for Fox's singing competition. Jersey also walloped Idol in the Bieber demo (teen girls 12 to 17).
This demo dominance is not a first for Jersey, by the way: It's been outdrawing Idol among the under-35 crowd since January. In fairness, Idol is still far bigger overall, averaging nearly 22 million sets of eyeballs versus under 8 million for Jersey. Plus, the ten-year-old Idol airs at 8 p.m., when viewing levels are lower than at 10 p.m., when the barely one-year-old Jersey runs. Still, remember when the cast of Jersey was holding off returning for another season of the show because MTV wouldn't give them a big enough raise? Everyone piled on The Situation, et al., basically saying the gang of guidos were disposable reality-TV creations who should be grateful they were even on a show. Based on these numbers, maybe another Jersey renegotiation is in order.