Nielsen Ratings May 20, 2008: Kristi Wins, Will David Cook Win Too?

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May 21st, 2008

Scoreboard for Tue. May 20, 2008 FOX ABC CBS NBC CW
Total Viewers (million) 19.34 16.26 14.42 4.53 2.22
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 7.6/20 4.1/11 3.1/8 1.6/4 1.0/3

A night reminiscent of the good old days, especially for FOX and ABC. Even with DVR factored in, last night's penultimate American Idol airing of the season will not reach 30 million viewers (remember, about 70% of Idol's DVR viewing occurs the same night the show airs), but perhaps there will be another few million for tonight's final. If the internet is a good forecaster of who will win, David Cook will win in a tight race. I have another forecast though that has uncanny accuracy typically. I *want* David Cook to win, which means he'll likely lose in a tight race!

Dancing with the Stars captured some of its former glory. While the show didn't quite average 20 million viewers for the two hour season-ender, it was close with 19.94m. Better still, it was a more youthful than average audience averaging a 5.3/14 in the 18-49 demographic. The last hour of the show did average more than 20 million and in the last half hour 21.13m (5.8/16 in the 18-49 demo) were tuned in to watch Kristi Yamaguchi become the first woman to take the Dancing crown since the first season.

NCIS had a respectable but older-skewing showing (relative to AI and DWTS) in its two hour season finale averaging 16.35 million and a 3.4/9 in the demo. Considering the competition at 9pm, I find it pretty stellar that Hell's Kitchen still won the 18-49 demo convincingly for the hour with a 5.6/14, though that will be revised downward somewhat due to at least a couple of minutes of American Idol overrun.

In its season finale, Reaper reaped 2.69m and a 1.2/3 in the demo. We'll see Reaper again, but we must bid adieu to James Woods and Shark. In its series finale last night at 10pm, Shark bit off 10.55m viewers and a 2.5/6 in the demo. Great numbers for the 10pm death slot, but the older skew sunk it.

NBC ran one half hour of new Most Outrageous Moments and the entire rest of the night was repeats.

Tuesday night's full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX American Idol 8p-9p 26.07 9.7/27
CBS NCIS (Season Finale 8p-10) 16.35 3.4/9
NBC Most Outrageous Moments 4.04 1.4/4
ABC Dancing with the Stars (Repeat) 8.89 1.9/5
CW Reaper (Repeat) 1.75 0.8/2
9:00 ABC Dancing With the Stars Finale (9p-11p) 19.94 5.3/14
FOX Hells Kitchen 12.6 5.6/14
CW Reaper (Season Finale) 2.69 1.2/3
NBC Law & Order: SVU (Repeat) 3.86 1.4/3
10:00 CBS Shark (Series Finale) 10.55 2.5/6
NBC Law & Order: SVU (Repeat) 5.69 2.0/5

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Full night's results available via Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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