TV Ratings Tuesday: 'Glee' Finale Rises, 'American Idol' Performance Finale Dips, 'DWTS' Sees Finale Low

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May 23rd, 2012

Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 3.6/10 2.6/10 2.1/6 1.7/5 1.5/4 0.2/1
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 2.9/10 1.5/5 1.4/5 1.9/6 0.8/2 0.2/1
Total Viewers (million) 11.018 14.579 6.545 4.243 8.638 0.668


FOX was the number one network for the night in adults 18-49 and ABC won with total viewers.

On NBC, America's Got Talent garnered a  3.2 , down two-tenths from last week's 3.4 adults 18-49 rating. At 10PM, Dateline NBC  got a 1.6 in adults 18-49, matching last week's time-period performance.

On FOX, the performance finale of American Idol earned a 4.2, which is an all-time low for a performance finale. It's worth noting too that the 14%  drop from last week's 4.9 rating, is the same drop the performance finale saw last year. The season finale of Glee scored a  3.0 adults 18-49 rating, up five tenths from last week's 2.5, and giving the show its best ratings since February.

On ABC, Dancing With the Stars' finale earned a 3.2 rating, which is a new performance finale low, despite being up  from last week's series low 2.2 rating.

On the CW,  L.A. Complex was even with last week's 0.2 adults 18-49 rating.

CBS was all repeats for the evening.

Late-night results are below the primetime data.

Broadcast primetime ratings for Tuesday, May 22, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PM FOX American Idol 4.2 13 14.391
NBC America's Got Talent -R 1.6 5 5.289
ABC Dancing With the Stars -R 1.3 4 8.775
CBS NCIS: Los Angeles -R 1.1 4 7.472
CW Hart of Dixie -R 0.3 1 0.888
9:00PM NBC America's Got Talent 3.2 9 9.292
ABC Dancing With the Stars: Results (9-11) 3.2 9 17.481
FOX Glee 3.0 8 7.644
CBS NCIS -R 1.6 4 9.156
CW The LA Complex 0.2 1 0.448
10:00PM CBS NCIS -R 1.8 5 9.286
NBC Dateline NBC 1.6 4 5.054


Via NBC Press Note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Tuesday night:

  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.5/6; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.5/6; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 4.4/10; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 2.2/7. 
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.8/4; "Late Show," 0.6/3; "Nightline," 1.2/5; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.6/3.
  • At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/5 in metered-market households) beat CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.1/4).  In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.5/3 in 18-49) topped "Late Late Show" (0.3/2).
  • At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.9/4 in metered-market households and a 0.3/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.


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

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 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 and Numbers 102.

  • Felipe Nikita


  • SteveO

    Wow, Glee fail. Only getting a 3.0 in a finale boosted by Idol is not very good. Sad :(

  • rob60990

    According to FOX and Berman, DWTS finale got a 3.2.

  • Mike

    Well, Glee went up somewhat. Wait till September, the ratings are going to drop big time.

  • Gabriel

    What about Cougar Town? I thought that the finale was aired yesterday.

  • Data

    @SteveO: Did you expect it to do better after how it performed throughout the season?

  • foley

    DWTS beat Idol

  • Greg

    It’s amazing how NBC wastes AGT lead in with Dateline instead of premiering a new show there.

  • MoHasanie

    Yikes for Idol, Glee, and DWTS finale! So low for all of them. DWTS below 3.0 for its finale is way too low.
    Glee even after a big lead in only managed a 3.0… So much for it being much competition to Grey’s ; Will it even manage a 2.5 against Grey’s?
    Idol is down for its performance finale, so will the finale even get a 6.0?

    AGT did alright against the competition.

  • RyanCanada

    I Really thought LA Complex would have done better than this, its better than 90210, GG etc… sad, oh well it lives on in canada, and thats all that matters lol Glee was great btw.

  • Greg


    Cougar Town’s finale is airing next Tuesday.

  • Terry

    Is it just me, or were alot of these May season finales awful?

  • Ben

    Didn’t Glee get 4.5 last year? Next year will be low 2s or maybe in the high 1s

  • zen

    @ Gabriel

    Cougar Town’s ABC finale airs next week.

  • SteveO

    @Data, I didn’t expect it to do better, I just hoped it would.

    Will be very very interesting to see how it does behind X Factor in the fall. For the season, is it Fox’s highest rated scripted show still, or was that title taken by New Girl or Family Guy? I know it’s a close race.

  • DW

    i’m not a fan of NCIS but that 1.8 for a rerun. have to respect that. thats free cash right there.

  • SteveO

    Glee dropped 35% from Season 2 to Season 3 finale (4.6 vs. 3.0).

  • Dave

    ‘Glee’ has outlived the hype. People are just bored with it.

  • Clarke

    Are the total numbers correct for the DWTS finale? Because the show usually skews older than that….

    The LA Complex got beaten by a HOD re-run. That’s gotta be embarrassing.

  • Ron

    Your viewership totals look way off. Obviously DWTS didn’t only get 9 million.

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