hours old news by now, but here's the official NBC press release on ER's finale.
'ER' TAKES ITS FINAL BOW WITH THE BIGGEST VIEWERSHIP FOR ANY TV DRAMA SERIES FINALE IN NEARLY 13 YEARS
LAST NIGHT'S 'ER' FINALE, WITH AN AVERAGE 16.2 MILLION VIEWERS, ATTRACTS THE LARGEST VIEWERSHIP FOR THE FINAL EPIOSDE OF ANY DRAMA SERIES SINCE 'MURDER, SHE WROTE' IN 1996
AMONG ADULTS 18-49, THE 'ER' FINALE SCORES THE TOP RATING FOR ANY DRAMA SERIES FINALE SINCE 'THE X-FILES' IN 2002
'ER' DOMINATES ITS TWO-HOUR TIME PERIOD, WINNING IN ADULTS 18-49, TOTAL VIEWERS AND OTHER KEY CATEGORIES, PACING NBC TO ITS BIGGEST NON-SPORTS THURSDAY SINCE MAY 2006
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - April 3, 2009 - Last night, the series finale of "ER" delivered the highest 18-49 rating for a drama series finale on the broadcast networks in nearly seven years and the biggest overall audience for any drama series finale in 13 years, according to "fast affiliate-based" "live plus same day" viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.
Last night from 9-11 p.m. ET, the series finale of "ER" (6.0 rating, 16 share in adults 18-49, 16.2 million viewers overall) scored the highest 18-49 rating for a drama series finale since "The X-Files" wrapped with a 6.3 on May 19, 2002. In total viewers, "ER," with an average 16.2 million viewers, assembled the biggest overall audience for a drama series finale since "Murder, She Wrote" concluded with 16.5 million on May 19, 1996.
"ER," which made its original series début on NBC on Thursday, Sept. 22, 1994, following a two-hour movie on Monday, Sept., 19, 1994, concluded its 15th and final season with last night's telecast.
"ER" sewed up NBC's highest 18-49 and total-viewer results in this time period with entertainment programming since May 18, 2006, the night of the "Will & Grace" finale. This is the highest-rated episode of "ER" among adults 18-49 since October 12, 2006 and in total viewers since May 18, 2006. Versus "ER's" season-to-date average for original episodes, last night's telecast was up 88 percent in both adults 18-49 and total viewers (6.0 vs. 3.2 and 16.2 million vs. 8.6 million, "live plus same day').
"ER" took charge of the two-hour time period, dominating in adults 18-49, total viewers and other key ratings categories. In adults 18-49, "ER" generated a 94 percent margin of victory (6.0 vs. 3.1 for CBS's dramas in second place, pending updates). In the 10-11 p.m. hour, "ER" beat the ABC-CBS drama competition combined in all key ratings categories - adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.
Last night from 8-9 p.m. ET, the special "ER Retrospective" (3.5/10 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) delivered NBC's best non-sports 18-49 rating in the time period since January 3, 2008 and biggest non-sports total viewership in the slot since March 27, 2008. The retrospective ranked #2 in the hour in adults 18-49 and #1 in adults 18-34, women 18-34, women 18-49 and women 25-54.
NBC's average 14.3 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. last night marks the network's best Thursday primetime performance in total viewers, excluding sports, since May 18, 2006 (the night of the "Will & Grace" finale). The network's 5.2 average among adults 18-49 from 8-11 p.m. matches the network's best non-sports primetime performance since that same date.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for Thursday night are: NBC, 5.2/14; CBS, 3.3/9; Fox, 2.9/8; CW, 1.6/4; and ABC, 1.4/4. In overall total viewers, April 2 preliminary results are: NBC, 14.3 million; CBS, 12.0 million; Fox, 8.0 million; ABC 4.5 million; CW, 3.5 million.
Note that all national ratings are "live plus same day" unless otherwise indicated.