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.

  • UKTVFan

    Glee may have risen in the demo for the finale, but the actual ratings of 7.64 million/3.0 demo is consistent with a drop of 35% in viewers and demo from S2 to S3 (last year’s finale had 11.80 million/4.6 demo).

  • Cath

    Read yesterday that most of the Glee cast, even the graduating seniors, will be coming back, but not necessarily for all 22 episodes. I think they shot themselves in the foot by announcing that the kids were graduating way early.

    Show was good last night. Only watched a few all season. Had the feel of the first season as it followed the stories of each of the graduating seniors.

  • MattM

    There are only a small handful of scripted shows that keep their debut rating into their second episode let alone their 2nd and following seasons. I think recently Modern Family may be the only show that has actually grown significantly since it’s debut. I’m sure somebody will point out another example but my point is every show fluctuates downward the longer it stays on the air and there are very few exceptions.

  • Liz Lemon

    I used to watch Glee…until it turned into a boring, cringe inducing, sappy after-school special.

  • SteveO

    Yeah, I mean Glee is perfectly fine on Fox. It’s still one of their highest rated shows. Won’t be going anywhere for awhile. XFactor will keep it alive with ratings as well, then Idol in spring.

  • Gary A

    Not hating on any show but –

    Glee did do better than most of FOX scripted shows, but, it was up from last week as would be expected for the season finale and being a special episode. But, facts are, it was down a great deal from both last seasons finale and this seasons premire. Not a good sign overall. Is it dead? – No, but it’s trending downwards and it’s unlikely to start attracting new viewers next season even following The X Factor and American Idol.
    & it ran third behind both AGT and DWTS.

    Again I will ask the question:
    If I’m an advertiser and I pay premium rates for the 18 – 49 demo, why wouldn’t DWTS be a better buy last night than Glee? It had .2 higher demo and 10 million more viewers. The more people who see my product advertised the better and if I’m not paying a high rate for them, that’s a plus. Right?

  • Fred

    The aging American Idol and Dancing with the Stars did well this season considering the increased reality competition.
    ABC and FOX are smart to milk these shows for all that they are worth.
    Next season AI and DWTS will most likely suffer further erosion due to the Britney fueled X-Factor and Kelly Clarkson’s (among others) Duets.

  • Ultima

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

    They’re using the AGT lead-in for American Ninja Warrior and Love in the Wild. Maybe look at a schedule next time before complaining?

  • Bunny

    Ryan Murphy was trending last night and the tweets was about how much they hated him and the Glee finale..

  • Bee

    forget glee. why aren’t people talking about idol?! 4.2? HOLY F*CK! either it was just a weird night or A LOT of people tuned out after joshua ledet left last week. in which case, it just goes to show how the voting gets worse and worse on this show and more out of tune w. what the viewers really want.

    given that idol crashed, glee’s 3.0 is not that bad at all; at least it was up! it was never going to get like 90% retention or something and out of similar numbers, touch gets high 1.0s and low 2.0s. but next year will be an interesting one for glee. creatively, it’s going through cast changes and style changes. on the outside, there’s schedule changes. it’s still FOX’s biggest scripted show, but we’ll see if that holds next week. the finale was amazing though and i can’t wait for next year!

    man oh man has it been a BAD year for ratings. i sincerely hope things are better next spring otherwise 2.0 will be the new 3.0. i wish the ABC line-up, especually revenge & don’t trust the b—- in apt. 23, luck tonight!

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Glee can drop two more full points and it will still beat Fringe! :-)

  • SteveO

    @Bee, hoping for good #s for Revenge and Apt 23 as well! Unfortunately they are up against Idol finale (it will run over into 10pm a few minutes).

  • SteveO

    @Richard, Glee could still drop 1pt and still beat every comedy on ABC not named Modern Family. I like this game.

  • Ultima

    @Gary A
    If I’m an advertiser and I pay premium rates for the 18 – 49 demo, why wouldn’t DWTS be a better buy last night than Glee?

    It would be, because DWTS had a higher rating. Total viewers has nothing to do with it.

  • Ultima

    why aren’t people talking about idol?! 4.2? HOLY F*CK! either it was just a weird night or A LOT of people tuned out after joshua ledet left last week.

    It was only on during the 8pm hour, which tends to be significantly lower rated than the 9pm hour for Idol. You would think that being the performance finale would offset that, but it doesn’t and it didn’t last year either. It’s still the highest rated show on TV. Now, if it pulls a 4-something tonight, then yeah, that’s a huge crash.

    man oh man has it been a BAD year for ratings. i sincerely hope things are better next spring

    Why would they be? Broadcast ratings have been declining for more than thirty years, you should expect ratings to be down at this point next year.

  • Michael

    According to Stephen Stohn, (executive producer) of LA Complex confirmed a season 2 for the show in America lol on twitter.

  • Lizzie

    “According to Stephen Stohn, (executive producer) of LA Complex confirmed a season 2 for the show in America lol on twitter.”

    I bet it comes back as a summer series. The CW advertised next weeks episode as the “Summer finale”.

  • LisaM

    I love DWTS but this was the most boring season ever.

  • Gustavo

    Why is DWTS below America´s got talent?:Both are tie in demo (3,2) and DWTS had almost twice the viewers of America´s got talent.

  • Gary A

    @ Ultima

    You miss my point – An advertiser doesn’t pay premium rates for viewers outside the desired 18 – 49 demo but that doesn’t mean that they dont want 10 million more people seeing their advertisement. If I can get 17 million people watching my ad and I’m paying for only the 3.2 demo, thats a win for me. Just saying that I remember that advertisers were paying higher rates this season for Glee because of it’s high demo.

    Do you get what I mean?

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