TV Ratings Thursday: 'Idol' Finale Drops Substantially From Last Year (Updated), 'Office' Series Finale Rises (Also Updated) & 'Scandal' Matches High

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May 17th, 2013


Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 3.4/11 2.6/8 2.4/7 2.2/6 1.4/3 0.8/2
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 2.5/9 1.6/5 2.0/10 2.2/8 1.3/4 0.7/2
Total Viewers (million) 13.608 10.353 7.194 4.436 3.558 1.767

FOX was number 1 in adults 18-49 and with Total Viewers.

On FOX the finale of American Idol earned a 3.4 from 8-10PM,  Update: We just got time zone adjusted fast national ratings from FOX (which are usually the same as final numbers), and American Idol earned a 3.6 adults 18-49 rating from 8-10:08, which is still a huge dive (44%)  from last year's  6.4  Adults 18-49 rating

In total viewers, this marks the first year that American Idol's finale did not hit the 20 million mark. For those interested, in the half hour that the American Idol finale went up against The Big Bang Theory, it only earned a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating.

On CBS, The Big Bang Theory scored a 4.4, down half a ratings point from last week's 4.9, but even with last year's 4.4 adults 18-49 finale rating. The two hour finale of Elementary earned a 2.0, up a tenth from last week's series low 1.9.

On ABC  Wipeout  earned a series low 1.0, down three tenths from last week's 1.3 adults 18-49 rating. Grey’s Anatomy earned a 3.0, down a tenth from last week's 3.1 adults 18-49 rating. Scandal matched last week's series high 3.2 adults 18-49 rating.

On NBC, The Office Retrospective earned a 2.0 from 8-9 PM.The Office finale earned a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating from 9-10:15 PM, which is up from last week's 2.3 and a 16-month high.  Hannibal earned a 1.0, down a tenth from last week's 1.1 adults 18-49 rating.

On The CW, The Vampire Diaries matched  last week’s 1.0 Adults 18-49 rating. Beauty and the Beast also matched last week's 0.5 adults 18-49 rating.



Overnight ratings for Thursday, May 16, 2013:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PM CBS The Big Bang Theory - Season Finale 4.4 16 14.78
FOX American Idol  (8-10PM) -Season Finale 3.6 11 14.30
NBC The Office Retrospective 2.0 7 4.37
ABC Wipeout 1.0 3 3.82
CW The Vampire Diaries -Season Finale 1.0 3 2.20
8:30PM CBS The Big Bang Theory -R 3.2 10 11.64
9:00PM ABC Grey's Anatomy - Season Finale 3.0 8 8.63
NBC The Office - Series Finale (9-10:15) 3.0 5.70
CBS Elementary (9-11) -Season Finale 2.0 6 8.93
CW Beauty and the Beast -Season Finale 0.5 1 1.34
10:00 PM ABC Scandal - Season Finale 3.2 9 9.134
NBC Hannibal (10:15-11PM) 1.0 2.40


In Late-Night Metered Markets Thursday night:
  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.3/6; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.3/6; and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 2.2/6.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 Wednesday results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.9/4; "Late Show," 0.4/2; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.0/5.
  • From 12:35-1:05 a.m. ET Wednesday night, ABC's "Nightline" averaged a 1.3/4 in metered-market households and a 0.6/3 in 18-49 in the Local People Meters.
  • From 12:35-1:35 a.m. ET, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.2/4 in metered-market households) tied CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.2/4).  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 0.8/3 in metered-market households and a 0.4/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.

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

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2013 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 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.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)


    “Hannibal might be the best show on NBC right now”

    That is a very low bar to jump ;-)

  • KarenM

    @The End, it has a great lead in but that doesn’t mean those people who like comedies are going to bother tuning into Elementary. PoI was the better lead in. I don’t think it hurt PoI but PoI’s a better show than Elementary in my opinion.

  • KarenM

    @Anthony Parello (AP076), true but I might go as far to say that it could be the best show on TV that no’s watching.

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)


    I think you are 100% correct on that one.

  • The End


    Two and a Half Men is one of the most established and highest rated shows on the network. Why do you think CBS placed prior to Elementary? The network is trying to protect the show. It being placed after the Superbowl aside, the network is showing preferential treatment to it and my point was mostly that talk of this show ending after 2 seasons is nonsense.

  • Hardline_Pro

    Good ratings for the final episode of The Office. The finale was great.


    Also another thing idol why did fox mess with its usual finale schedule which is always Tuesday wednesday last week of the season? I didn’t like the change that could have impacted the ratings

  • EveWren

    American Idol is a cockroach crawling out of the pipes. That show is done. The most biggest problem is that they have not produced an idol in like 7 seven years. No one rembembers, or cares. I hear they’re doing another season, if so they need major changes. Why not open the competion to bands for example, instead of the usual solo singers. Go back to just three judges; it gives the illusion of a tie-break. They need to get judges who disagree on the contestants, not judges who argue with themselves. Simon and Paula used to banter a lot, but it was always related to their disagreement over the singers. Get judges with some credibility as singers, singers, not people who are popular on the charts. That NIki person has no business judging a singing competion. Someone should have told Mariah Carey that she was judging singers in a competion not lab puppies at a fair (what’s not to like about puppies). She brought no critisism.

  • Andoni

    Amazon and a cable network are interested in picking up Hannibal if it gets cancelled, so fingers crossed.

  • bluejays

    That two for elementary shows how well POI has been performing and how poor and weak Elemntary really is.

    Should have moved Elementary to Friday not HFO – they’ll be lucky to get it to syndication at all.

    Great numbers for Scandal – this is now a true hit.


    Not surprised about IDOLS ratings.. But IDOL does know how to put on an incredible finale show compared to
    The Voice & XF. The right person won this season as well

  • The End

    @Should have moved Elementary to Friday not HFO – they’ll be lucky to get it to syndication at all.


  • mmel

    I hate to say it, but I don’t think after that finale Scandal will see these numbers again. It just came from my must see tv to I’ll catch it online the next day so I can watch Hannibal.

  • hanp

    AI still does decent ratings but will continue to slide next year (and the year after) regardless of any attempt by FOX to reverse it. It’s mainly due to audience over-fatigued and not so much about whoever is judging.


    @EveWren your argument that IDOL hasn’t produced a star in 7 years doesn’t make sense. Last years winner (Phillip Phillips) had one of the best selling songs of the year, selling over 4 million copies, his second single is doing great and has already sold over 600,000 copies, his album had been in top 50 in iTunes for 50 straight weeks and is on its way to Platnium stays. Season 10 winner (Scotty) has gone Platnium and won some awards and has sold over 1 million singles, Adam Lambert has sold per 2 million albums worldwide & over 4 million singles. Jordin sparks has sold over 4 million albums worldwide & millions of singles.

  • theCroup

    I don’t think strength of lead-in is going to matter much to Elementary. I think Elementary is one of those few shows that has found its core audience early in its premiere season. The transient viewers have already left, and come large lead-in or small, Elementary keeps drawing about the same demo rating in the low 2s. So unless general network ratings recover greatly or something happens to drive the core audience away (generally a major drop in quality or big cast changes) the show will probably hang out in the same ratings zone for a long while and I think that bodes well for continued renewals.

    I’m not a fan of Elementary. I watched the first 5 episodes or so but was somewhat bored. For me, the weak link is JLM. The writing, the stories, Lucy Liu and the supporting characters are all interesting, much more interesting than Sherlock. It’s a puzzle because I have liked JLM’s performance in other things, including the terrible and laughably-written Eli Stone, but my attention wanders every time he starts speaking on Elementary.

  • MichaelChickless

    NBC should’ve debuted Hannibal on a Tuesday after The Voice (instead of RFL) to get as many people as possible to sample the show early in its [serialized] run.

  • diana

    Glad to see The Office did so well, it was a phenomenal show (maybe my favorite sitcom ever!), full of love and laughter. I’ve already watched the Finale three times. I don’t watch anything else on Thursday nights. Maybe another show will come along to take its place in my heart one day .. I did love Friends and Cheers, and thought THEY couldn’t be replaced .. I hope so. I have enjoyed my love affair with The Office. :)

  • Tom

    @ Ellan

    “Hmm…I’m okay with BATB being 0.5. It was going up against Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, American Idol and Elementary. I was worried that the ratings would slide. But, it’s fine. ”

    That’s really magnanimous of you. As usual, B&B received a 1 share of viewers between 18 and 49 years of age. Meaning that B&B was being seen by an anemic one percent of the viewers in that age group who were watching television at the time. That’s by far the lowest share rating of the evening. So, instead of being being fine with it, consider that this is a concrete example that the show is pretty unpopular.

    And, while you’re at it, consider that B&B’s 18 – 49 viewer rating has been declining steadily against the same competition since mid-January. So, the ratings slide you were worried about actually happened. If the competition hasn’t changed, the decline in B&B ratings is entirely about B&B losing viewer appeal. In other words, if you’re ok with the situation, it’s because you can’t grasp what’s going on.

  • KarenM

    @MichaelChickless, nothing could’ve helped it because it’s not the type of show for general audiences. It doesn’t fit the mold of a typical drama. Unfortunately, it was a lost cause from the get go. Only cable could save a show like this.

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