Simon Cowell’s departure announcement may have boosted ratings for the ninth season premiere of American Idol: The reality-TV series had slightly higher numbers for the first time since 2007. Nearly 30 million people watched the two-hour episode Tuesday, with preliminary numbers showing 11.7 million among the 18-49 age group. Though that’s exactly the same number for that coveted demographic during the eighth season premiere, the numbers tend to climb a bit when national ratings are added—and Fox anticipates this year will be no different. The series has not been able to repeat its ratings' peak during season five. Though Cowell’s exit reveal Monday had Fox hoping for big numbers, some cite former judge Paula Abdul’s absence as a reason viewers aren’t tuning in en masse.