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.

  • AC75


    To be fair, the CW says “hit series” about everything the air. Even the stuff just circling the bowl.

  • CookyMonzta


    I put the overall ratings for Idol’s Wednesday and Thursday shows together and came up with the average. Since this is a single show, I didn’t think it logical to separate its Wed./Thurs. broadcasts. On average, both its Wed. and Thurs. broadcasts put the entire show at #3 behind NCIS, even though separately its Wed. show is #2 and Thurs. #4. Its results shows weigh it down heavily.

    You are right; it will not be a surprise if tonight’s results finale is an all-time low. But the news and entertainment media will pick up on its decline and sensationalize it to a fever-pitch. This show and its top brass used to pride itself on the premise that it could never be toppled from the #1 spot. They literally lived to rule the ratings game, and were not ashamed to rub it in.

    Now that it appears its time at the very top is numbered literally in MINUTES, commercial advertisers will refuse to pay Idol the enormous amounts the show demands. The days of $500,000 or more for a 30-second ad are over. If another guy wins, they will insist upon paying no more than $300,000; maybe even $200,000 will be a stretch for advertisers to a fast-declining show. I think it is quite conceivable to see Idol LOSE money next year.

  • Ultima

    This show and its top brass used to pride itself on the premise that it could never be toppled from the #1 spot. They literally lived to rule the ratings game, and were not ashamed to rub it in.

    Idol is still the top rated show on TV, both its overall live+SD 18-49 rating (5.2) and its Wednesday-only rating (5.4) are higher than Modern Family’s (5.1).

  • Networkman

    @ Gary, at least last year Hines Ward did deserve the win over Kristie Alley. But no way did Donald Driver deserves the win over Katherine. I was not that impressed with Donald’s freedance. Alot of people may have felt as if he was being underscored because the producers wanted a female to win. That may have caused a backlash for people to vote for Donald. Another reason for Donald’s win is because viewers most likely did not want to see either Cheryl or Mark win a third mirror ball trophy. So that also could of hinder William and Katherine’s chance for winning.

  • Justin121

    Had Idol declined between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, this year’s declines would seem normal.

  • dudley

    Glee was a unique show… it was fun to watch BUT something has happened to the writing team… it seems they cant come up with good story lines so they fill the whole hour with songs wich i think too much singin gets anoying… too bad, there are so many characters in that show that they could write something good about them and always include some songs but not 8 or 10 songs

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