Updated TV Ratings Wednesday: 'American Idol' Finale Up, Buries Competition; ABC's Finales Down vs. Last Year

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May 26th, 2011

Scoreboard FOX ABC CBS Uni NBC CW
Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 9.2/x 2.3/6 1.7/5 1.5/4 1.2/3 0.4/1
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 7.0/x 2.1/6 1.2/4 1.6/5 0.8/3 0.4/1
Total Viewers (million) 29.285 6.325 6.658 3.821 4.203 1.047

Of course, Fox dominated the final night of the 2010-11 broadcast season with the two hour seaon finale of American Idol which scored a  9.2 adults 18-49 rating and 29.3 million viewers. Note: The numbers for Fox are now time zone adjusted and are far less likely to be adjusted in the final ratings due later today. That was up 12% for adults 18-49 and 21% for viewership compared to last year's finale 8.2 adults 18-49 rating and 24.223 million average viewers. It was also the first time in five years that American Idol finale ratings topped the previous season's.

Update: From 10:00-10:07 Eastern when the winner was announced, the show averaged 38.6 million viewers.

And it what is likely to be a frequent occurrence in the summer, Univision topped NBC once again among adults 18-49.

ABC's finale night was down vs. last season. The Middle season finale drew a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating, down 8% vs. last week and down 12% vs. last season's finale. The Modern Family season finale scored a 4.1 adults 18-49 rating even with last week's rating, down 5% vs. last season's finale. The Cougar Town finale's 2.0 rating for its one hour episode was even  vs. last week's 9:30 episode, but down 29% vs. last season's finale. At 10:30, the season finale of Happy Endings attracted a 1.7 rating, up 31% from the 10:30 episode last week. Worth noting that last season's ABC Wednesday comedy finales aired a week earlier, and did not face the American Idol finale.

Among 10pm cancelled shows, now playing out the string...

NBC's Law & Order: LA drew a 1.4 rating in a special 10pm Wednesday episode, up one tenth vs. its rating on Monday.

CBS's Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior's series finale 2.0 adults 18-49 rating was even with last week.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for May 25, 2011:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00 FOX American Idol 10 RESULTS 7.0 23 22.952
ABC THE MIDDLE 2.2 7 7.433
CBS The Big Bang Theory - R 1.5 5 5.811
NBC Minute To Win It - R 1.1 3 3.502
8:30 FOX AMERICAN IDOL 10 RESULTS 8.8 25 27.782
ABC Modern Family - R 1.9 5 6.048
CBS The Big Bang Theory - R 1.7 5 6.196
NBC Minute To Win It - R 1.0 3 3.373
9:00 FOX AMERICAN IDOL 10 RESULTS 9.8 26 30.633
ABC Modern Family 4.1 11 10.219
CBS Criminal Minds - R 1.5 4 6.112
NBC Minute To Win It - R 1.0 3 3.240
9:30 FOX AMERICAN IDOL 10 RESULTS 9.8 24 31.275
ABC Cougar Town 2.0 5 5.318
CBS Criminal Minds - R 1.7 4 6.788
NBC Minute To Win It - R 1.2 3 3.933
10:00 CBS Criminal MindsSuspect Behavior 2.0 5 7.348
ABC Cougar Town 1.9 5 4.871
10:30 CBS Criminal MindsSuspect Behavior 2.0 5 7.695
ABC Happy Endings 1.7 4 4.060

via NBC press note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Wednesday night:

In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 3.0/7; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.7/7; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 3.0/7; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.5/5.

In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 1.0/4; "Late Show," 0.6/3; "Nightline," 1.0/4; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.5/3.

At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.5/5 in metered-market households) beat CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.4/5). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.7/4 in 18-49) topped "Late Late Show" (0.4/3).

At 1:35 a.m., Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.9/4 in metered-market households and a 0.4/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

NOTE: All ratings are "live plus same day" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated. Starting with data for Mon 3/28/11, all program ratings will now include multiple viewings of a telecast on a DVR. Previously only the first viewing was counted. HUT/PUT will now consist of Live TV viewing and DVR playback at time of play. Previously, HUT/PUT consisted of live viewing and DVR playback credited to time of live telecast.

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

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


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 football 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. 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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