TV Ratings Sunday: 'Desperate Housewives' Finale Wins Night, 'Once Upon a Time' Rises, 'Survivor' Has Its Lowest Rated Finale Ever, 'Harry's Law' Up

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May 14th, 2012

Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 2.8/8 2.3/7 1.7/5 1.3.4 0.9/3
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 2.1/7 1.2/4 1.8/7 0.9/3 0.8/3
Total Viewers (million) 9.49 9.43 3.60 5.51 2.46


ABC won the night in adults 18-49 and  total viewers. 

On ABC, America's Funniest Videos declined to  a 1.6  adults 18-49 rating from last week's 2.0. The season finale of Once Upon A Time scored a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating, up  7% from last week's 3.0 . The two hour series finale of  Desperate Housewives garnered a 3.2 adults 18-49 rating, up 19%  from a 2.7 for last week's hour long episode and up from a  3.1 for last year's season finale.

On CBS, the two house Survivor finale earned a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49, compared to a 2.7 for last week's finale of The Amazing Race and down 30% from last spring's Survivor finale for the show's lowest rated finale ever. At 10pm, The Survivor reunion scored a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating up from the 1.2 NYC 22 earned in the time period last week and down 29% from last spring's Survivor reunion for the series lowest rated reunion ever. At 7PM, 60 Minutes got a season low 1.2  down from last week's 1.6.

On Fox, The Cleveland Show earned a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49, down 7% from last week's 1.4.  The Simpsons got a 1.9 adults 18-49 rating down 14% from last week's 2.2. Bob's Burgers scored a 1.8 in adults 18-49, even with last week. Family Guy garnered  a 2.3 among adults 18-49, down 15%  from its  2.7  last week.b The season finale of  American Dad got a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating down 13% from last week's 2.3.

On NBC, Dateline earned a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating up from last week's 0.7. Harry's Law scored a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating, up 25% from last week's 0.8.  Celebrity Apprentice earned a 1.8 among adults 18-49, down from last week's 1.9 and tying its series low.

Broadcast primetime ratings for Sunday, May 13, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
7:00 ABC America's Funniest Home Videos 1.6/6 6.31
CBS 60 Minutes 1.2/5 9.21
FOX The Simpsons - R 0.9/4 2.12
NBC Dateline 0.8/3 3.62
7:30 FOX The Cleveland Show 1.3/5 2.79
8:00 ABC Once Upon A Time (Season Finale) 3.2/10 9.45
CBS Survivor: One World (8-10PM)(Season Finale) 2.8/8 10.22
FOX The Simpsons 1.9/6 4.00
NBC Harry's  Law 1.0/3 7.61
8:30 FOX Bob's Burgers 1.8/5 3.63
9:00 ABC Desperate Housewives (9-11PM)(Series Finale) 3.2/8 11.10
FOX Family Guy 2.3/6 4.94
NBC Celebrity Apprentice (9-11PM) 1.8/5 5.40
9:30 FOX American Dad (Season Finale) 2.0/5 4.12
10:00 CBS Survivor: One World Reunion 2.4/6 8.07


Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


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. 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 and Numbers 102.

  • Richard

    The first 2 seasons of DH were great. But it just got too over the top and crazy for my liking.

    Survivor was great until the fascination with Russell Hantz. They ruined the show with that fascination. I haven’t watched since his last season.

  • Max


    It was hysterical.

    I wish the show (David Kelley basically) would have written in something about the bear or this site just for the laughs and stuff. Also, would have been great advertisement for this place.

    I’m going to miss that show so much. But, such is life and numbers are numbers.

  • forg

    Didn’t expect to Survivor to not even reach a 3.0! I hope they rebound next season with Survivor: Philippines :D

    Respectable exit for DH. The finale is old-skewing eh? Before they can pull higher demo with 11 million viewers. It was really time to end and too bad it ended relatively quiet but the final season didn’t really had the momentum so to speak as the mystery was once again lame. In fairness, DH had the comedy element of the show right and that’s one of the reasons it lasted this long but the mystery arcs they have each season starts well then drags on in the middle then up with underwhelming conclusion

    Good numbers for OUAT although I won’t deny I was expecting higher ratings like 3.5 but oh well this spring is really a sucky time in the ratings that all things considered the numbers for OUAT are good

    Who knew Family Guy will be hit badly?

  • jt

    go once upon a time

  • David Howell

    Wow, everything lower than I’d have expected. Thought DH would be around a 3.5 and would be held down by Survivor if anything, but the two shows only totalled a 6 between them.

    The sheer speed of decline in broadcast ratings never ceases to amaze me. Even a show with TBBT/MF numbers would have been cancelled not that many years ago, and now they’re the top scripted shows on television.

  • The End

    Speaking of Once Upon a Time, if the first episode of Season 2 is a everyone forgot who they are storyline again I’ll walk away from this show and pretend it never existed. It’d completely null and void 22 fantastic episodes prior.

    Given how happy Regina looks, the dark cloud flooding through Storybrook appears to be curse 2.0 or something that can restore her to how she was before.

  • miles silverberg

    So glad for OUAT and DH wins…thanks for 8 good years DH, I’ll miss you.

  • Simon

    To the person that claimed a 3.2 in the demo isn’t a good number for a finale in regards to Once Upon A Time. It is better than what most finales get! And we are back in the high 3s in the demographic.

    Great finale too! Interesting to see what they do with S2, MUCH better than any of the LOST finales in both pacing and story telling. Carlye was a pleasure to watch as usual, he an De Raven (Belle) play off very nicely together, loved how they came full circle and actually ended a Season arc instead of dragging it out for 2+ Seasons like they did with, again, LOST.

    Nice seeing a lot of old faces in this one, but wish we could have seen more of Meghan Ory (sp?) as Red/Ruby :(

  • Bob

    @Tommy M,
    I am a bit sensitive about Harry’s Law and why Ultima (who I do like by the way) has to CONSTANTLY hit below the belt on this one issue is beyond me. I know Harry’s Law is done but dang it has only been 3 days…..lol. Oh yeah I am in the demo what good that was.

  • Simon

    @The End
    Either that or she know she’ll get HER powers back and be able to get back at Gold/Rumple for backstabbing her.

  • Fred

    In the 18-49 demo, DH was ABC 4th highest rated scripted show this season. Only Modern Family, Grey’s and OUAT did better. Impresseive for an 8 year old show. At least it went out with decent ratings. Probably had 1 or 2 (at most) seasons left in it. I’m sure the showrunners could have figured out a way to keep it entertaining. More Vanessa Williams and more storylines with young characters might have worked.

    Any word on what Marc Cherry is doing , now that Devious Maids is not picked up?

  • Danielle

    @The End

    I’m thinking Regina was so happy about the dark cloud because it means she’ll get her powers back. (At least I’m hoping that’s what it means!) She was pretty dang powerful and if she’s going to have to fight everyone, she’s gonna need every last bit of it.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Emma gets any powers. Snow and Charming didn’t have magic individually, but she was born of it, so maybe?

  • Fed


    Well Season 25 has finished filming and there is 95% certainty that the 3 returning players are:
    Mike Scupin from Season 2 who fell in the fire and had third-degree burns;

    Jonathan Penner from 16 who had a life-threatening infection in his injured knee;
    And Rusell Swan from 19 who collapsed after having dangerously low blood pressure.

  • MoHasanie


    Ok, we get it! Why do you always compare Housewives to Grey’s? They are on completely different nights and one is a soap and the other is a medical drama. Everybody knows Grey’s is stronger, and its one of the strongest shows on tv for 8 years now in the demo.
    Throughout DH’s run, it has faced more difficult competition than Grey’s, and that’s something you fail to mention every week you come here comparing Grey’s to Housewives.
    And creatively, Housewives shouldn’t have lasted more than 7 seasons, and it was supposed to last 7 seasons, but ABC persuaded Marc Cherry to do another season. DH has pretty much done mostly everything, and had begun repeating storylines a lot, since they were running out of things to do. Grey’s still has 1 or 2 seasons left in it and is still creatively strong.
    And I hope you realize that without Housewives, Grey’s would never be the hit it is today- For two seasons, it benefited from a giant lead in from DH.

  • Fred

    Well stated MoHassnie,

    I rank this season (season 8) and last season (season 7) pretty strong, after a fairly weak season 5 and the weakest season 6. How do you rank the seasons?

    Note: Even the weakest seasons had good elements in it. So overall DH had a respectable solid run.

  • Shea


    I like those 3. I had assumed Colton, Russell Swan, and I couldn’t decide on the third. I had ruled out Mike Skupin only because it was so long ago. That would be 23 seasons in between appearances. I think the previous longest was Sandra, Season 7 & 20. I ruled out Penner cuz he has appeared twice already. Papa Smurf, Kourtney from this season ..no. I eventually settled on the third being Bruce. So I got 1 of 3 right ..lol.

    Russell deserves it tho. He was in a pretty good position before leaving. I don’t think he’s cut throat enough to win however. Skupin is long overdue a second chance. And Penner, well, the love/hate between him and Probst is always good tv.

    Probst: Jonathan is getting mad at ME now.
    Penner: Oh, please, Jeff.

  • Paul


    Excellent post! Those are my feelings exactly regarding DH and Grey’s. As for the finale, I enjoyed it immensely. I’m pretty satisfied with the ratings it got considering the fragmented audience we have these days. I do wonder thought what the DVR ratings might add to these numbers.

  • Shea

    I think I have my quote in the reverse order that it actually happened. Was a funny one for me tho. Jeff breaking the fourth wall for the first time.

  • Ollie

    Desperate Housewives was a fitting end to a great eight years, the ratings were as expected but i was still to over optimistic aiming for a 4.0 ;-)

  • MoHasanie


    Yeah, season 6 for me was very bad. The mystery was bad, and the stories were getting boring. Season 7 was an improvement on season 6, but then half way through the season, it began to be heading nowhere, with the Paul mystery thing. I’d rate them like this:
    1. Season 1
    2. Season 3
    3. Season 4
    4. Season 2
    5. Season 8
    6. Season 7
    7. Season 5
    8. Season 6

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