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TV Ratings Thursday: 'The Office' Rises, 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Private Practice,' 'Big Bang Theory' Rise, But American Idol Dominates

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May 20th, 2011

Scoreboard FOX CBS ABC NBC Uni CW
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 4.7/13 2.8/8 2.5/7 2.4/7 1.5/4 0.5/1
Rating/Share: Adults 18-34 3.4/11 1.8/6 2.1/7 2.8/9 1.7/5 0.4/1
Total Viewers (million) 15.619 12.488 7.544 4.658 3.867 1.323

It was never in doubt that Fox would top the night in adults 18-49 and total viewers.  American Idol scored a 6.2 adults 18-49 rating from 8-9p, that's down 0.3 from last week's final number and identical to last week's preliminary number. Don't be surprised if it is adjusted up two or three tenths in the finals.  The season finale of Bones scored a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating, even with last week and its highest for a finale since 2008.

CBS was second for the night in both adults 18-49 and total viewers.  The Big Bang Theory was up a tenth vs. last week to a 3.5 adults 18-49 rating for its season finale and Rules of Engagement was even with last week with a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating. Big Bang's finale was down 34% from last year's Monday finale. The two hour season finale of The Mentalist averaged a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating (2.4 the first hour, 3.0 the second hour), which was even with last week's one hour episode.  The Mentalist was down 17% from last year's finale and had its lowest-rated finale ever.

The one-hour season finale of NBC's The Office was the top scripted show of the night with a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating, up 0.5 from last week's episode  and up 0.4 versus last year's season finale.  The first 30 minute episode of Parks & Recreation scored a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating, even with last week's 9:30p airing, and the season finale at 10:30p scored a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, even with last week's 10pm telecast.

Grey's Anatomy was up two tenths in its season finale to a 3.4 adults 18-49 rating, and Private Practice was also up two tenths to a 2.5 adults 18-49 rating, its best numbers in 7 weeks with adults 18-49, and a 5 month high with adults 18-34.  But the news isn't good: Grey's finale was down 37% from last season to its lowest-rated finale ever. Private Practice was down 22% from last year's finale and also marked its lowest-rated finale.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Thursday, May 19, 2011:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 FOX American Idol 6.2/19 21.19
CBS The Big Bang Theory (Season Finale) 3.5/12 11.12
ABC Wipeout (Spring Finale) 1.7/5 5.59
NBC The Office (R) 1.1/4 2.83
CW Smallville (R) 0.5/2 1.29
8:30 CBS Rules of Engagement 2.5/7 8.80
NBC The Office (R) 1.5/4 3.02
9:00 NBC The Office (Hour Season Finale, 9-10p) 3.8/10 7.07
ABC Grey's Anatomy (Season Finale) 3.4/9 9.58
FOX Bones (Season Finale) 3.2/8 10.05
CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 1) 2.4/6 12.67
CW Smallville (R) 0.5/1 1.35
10:00 CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 2) 3.0/8 14.84
ABC Private Practice (Season Finale) 2.5/7 7.47
NBC Parks & Recreation 2.4/6 4.25
10:30 NBC Parks & Recreation (Season Finale) 2.0/5 3.72
9:00 ABC Grey's Anatomy (Season Finale) 3.3/9 9.33
9:30 ABC Grey's Anatomy (Season Finale) 3.5/9 9.83
10:00 ABC Private Practice (Season Finale) 2.6/7 7.69
10:30 ABC Private Practice (Season Finale) 2.4/6 7.25
9:00 CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 1) 2.4/7 12.62
9:30 CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 1) 2.4/6 12.71
10:00 CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 2) 2.9/7 14.52
10:30 CBS The Mentalist (Season Finale, Pt 2) 3.2/8 15.17
9:00 FOX Bones (Season Finale) 3.4/9 10.68
9:30 FOX Bones (Season Finale) 3.0/8 9.41
9:00 NBC The Office (Season Finale) 3.8/10 7.07
9:30 NBC The Office (Season Finale) 3.8/10 7.06

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Via NBC press note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Thursday night:

• In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.6/6; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 3.0/7; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.1/7; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.4/4.

• In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.9/4; "Late Show," 0.8/4; "Nightline," 1.1/4; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.6/3.

• At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/4 in metered-market households) trailed CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.4/5). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.5/3 in 18-49) tied "Late Late Show" (0.5/3).

• At 1:35 a.m., Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.8/4 in metered-market households and a 0.4/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

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Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2011 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: All national ratings are "live plus same day DVR viewing" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.

Definitions:

Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live baseball game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

 
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