First a huge disclaimer: I LOVE LOST! There, I said it. But the numbers are the numbers. ABC has the good fortune of being able to mask some of the ratings attrition in seasonal averages and effectively the bleed off of viewers when looked at that way hasn't been so bad, dropping from around 16m average viewers for season one to around 13 million this year for season 4.
In the comments section of the overnight results for Thursday, commenter Peter L had a specific request the numbers for the season 2 and season 3 premieres. Commenter Jack_Shephard (hey, if you're going to be anonymous on the Internet, and are a LOST-lover, might as well show the colors) jumped right in and provided them. But I thought I'd take a more in-depth look and dug up as much information as I could for each season's premiere and finale.
The largest drop occurred between the season 3 premiere and finale. I'm not surprised, other than the finale itself, season 3 was my least favorite. Some folks caught up and came back for the season four premiere, and DVR is a much bigger factor this year than last so it could well be that this season's finale actually did better than last years. We won't really be able to say that for sure, but lost has generally had over 3 million DVR viewers (though keep in mind that 30%-50% of those viewers are counted in the live plus same day numbers, more DVR viewers watched the same night when the show aired at 9pm than when it aired at 10pm). I wouldn't be surprised at all if LOST's live plus seven day DVR viewing #'s for the finale are in the 14 million range.
While LOST is still a hit in the 18-49 demographic by today's standards, it's lost about half its 18-49 viewers from its apex. Here are the numbers:
|Date||Season||Episode||HH/Share||Viewers (Millions) LIVE+SD||18-49 Rating||18-49 Viewers (Millions)|
|9/22/2004||S1 Premiere||Pilot: Part 1||18.6|
|5/25/2005||S1 Finale||Exodus: Part 2||12.0/18||20.71||7.8||10.15|
|9/21/2005||S2 Premiere||Man of Science, Man of Faith||13.8/20||23.47||10.2||13.23|
|5/24/2006||S2 Finale||Live Together, Die Alone||10.3/16||17.84||7.6||9.84|
|10/4/2006||S3 Premiere||A Tale of Two Cities||11.1/17||18.82||7.7||10.09|
|5/23/2007||S3 Finale||Through The Looking Glass||8.0/13||13.86||5.9||7.69|
|1/31/2008||S4 Premiere||The Begnning of the End||9.4/14||16.14||6.7||8.83|
|5/29/2008||S4 Finale*||There's No Place Like Home (parts 2 and 3)||7.1/11||12.2||4.9||6.41|
All numbers are either LIVE or LIVE plus same day DVR viewing (which Nielsen didn't measure going back a few years). 5/29/08 numbers are preliminary overnight estimates.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.