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.

  • Obsessed With Hart of Dixie

    Hart Of Dixie!

  • adamdp13

    Glee may not have had as good numbers as last season, but it still beast the series finale of House

  • rob60990

    Glee was never going to be a threat to Grey’s and this pretty much proves it.

  • The End


    You have no idea what you’re talking about. A 3.0 for any show is excellent.

    I realise some of you come here to hate on specific shows by finding faults that aren’t there, but seriously. Try harder.

  • SteveO

    Glee will probably premiere around 3.0 next year as well (I would say down, but it’ll be on after X Factor, which is looking to premiere huge in the fall).

  • SteveO

    @TheEnd, I LOVE Glee. I’m not hating at all. I’m just saying that it is noticeably down from last season.

  • Jessica

    Some people may have missed glee since they changed the time for one week just for american idol. *eye roll* I almost missed it because I had no idea it was at a different time. I don’t know. I feel like it doesn’t matter to a certain extent how much its ratings dip for the time being. They sell so many albums/songs from that show and I’m sure it is/will be a hot commodity for syndication/streaming deals. I personally wish they’d ended the show this season when the kids are (for the most part) on top. I overall thought this season was a lot better than last season, but they lost a lot of people last year who never returned. I will probably follow along next year, but I really think it’s a show that would be better with a few seasons over 5+.

  • The End


    Oh okay, didn’t seem like it, and easy mistake to make considering the context of your post. My point was mostly, Glee didn’t fail at all.

    Haven’t watched a single episode of this series for reference. Just Fox will be very happy with a 3.0, although down from last year when the show was getting spectacular numbers, it still is getting what I would call great figures.

  • SteveO

    @TheEnd, yeah I see what you mean about that. A 3.0 isn’t bad, I agree. I was just pointing out that compared to last season’s finale (4.6), it’s down quite a bit. I didn’t mean for that to be hating on the show or anything. Strictly from a % standpoint, it’s not a “spectacular” (as you say) thing.

    I just wanted it to break a 3, and it did.

  • Bob

    Great job Idol…winning the entire night. Great job for Dancing with the Stars. Great job for Glee. Great job for repeats of NCIS and NCIS LA. Great job for America’s Got Talent. Seems like a decent job for most.

  • The End


    I agree. Given the decline in the numbers over the seasons that have gone by, it does make me wonder how long the show will last on the network.

    I’m giving it 5 seasons at most before being cancelled. Seems fair enough. If it holds these numbers 6.

  • MoHasanie

    @The End

    I don’t think those are great numbers. It got a 3.0 out of a 4.2 lead in (or a 4.7 lead in, if you only look at the 8.30 ratings for Idol), and this was for its season finale and moreover, its the most compatible lead in for it. Maybe, if it got that 3.0 at a time like 10pm, than those numbers would be “spectacular”, but at 9pm, a 3.0 isn’t that special when the lead in is so big.

  • SteveO

    This is not hating on Glee, just stating numbers:
    -Down 16% from Season 3 premiere (4.0)
    -Down 35% from Season 2 finale (4.6)

    Question: Does anyone know if Glee is Fox’s highest rated scripted show this year? Or New Girl or Family Guy?

  • Doc Michaels

    Not only was this a weak season for Idol but I totally forgot it was on until a facebook friend of mine reminded me it was on a night early. Unsurprising.

  • Chuck_T

    Posted May 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM
    Your viewership totals look way off. Obviously DWTS didn’t only get 9 million.

    The DWTS rerun appears it did get just under 9 million. The actual results show got 17.4 million.

  • SteveO

    Also, just interestingly, Glee had a 0% change from Season 1 to Season 2 finale (both 4.6). Just a fun fact for everyone.

    In other Glee news, apparently there are rumors that Fox is replacing Ryan Murphy as show runner. But, of course, just rumors.

  • Kelly

    @ SteveO

    I think it is Family Guy. But this is what I heard. I am not sure.

  • s0303

    american idol was up against all repeats and still went down that much? glee didn’t do that bad considering it was up against dwts and agt…

  • MattM


    I think FG might have the highest average rating then Glee followed closely by New Girl.

    Midseason Glee was the absolute worst but these last four episodes have been pretty excellent and may have saved the show for me as I was not going to watch next season. It looks like most of the main characters will be sticking around, it’s gonna be interesting to see how they follow up on the characters that graduated this season.

  • greysfan

    Well i suppose when you have 3 talent shows on the same night that something had to give. Glad Glee got a 3.0 but would have liked more like a 3.5

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