As to be expected, the first part of the American Idol season finale, plus the “preview” of the newcomer Glee was more than enough to win the night for Fox against the finales of Dancing With The Stars and CBS’s lineup of NCIS, Mentalist and Without A Trace.

The American Idol performance finale registered its lowest 18-49 demo rating ever, down 18% from last season. Although once a three minute overrun into Glee gets added back in, those numbers may tick up a bit. The Dancing With The Stars finale fared better vs. historical comparisons, down only 6% vs. its spring finale last season.

Against the two big unscripted competitors, the CBS Tuesday finale night registered only a 0.1 18-49 demo rating uptick from last week. That’s got to be a bit disappointing.

I’m sure it’s another retentionista fiesta over at the PI Feedback forum this morning, but if Fox’s Glee can sustain anything like a 3.7 demo rating after So You Think You Can Dance next fall, the fiesta will be at the Fox executive suite instead. I don’t read last night’s numbers for Glee as being predictive of anything.

NBC seems to already be in summer mode, it was neck and neck with Univision last night. Law & Order: SVU notched its lowest original episode rating ever. The season finale of 90210 was down 0.2 ratings points in the 18-34 demo from the prior week, but note the pre-emption in Chicago below.

It’s likely that the numbers for the first half hour of Glee has a few minutes of viewership from Idol in it. Those will be removed in the final numbers. Note that baseball pre-empted the CW lineup in Chicago and that may lead to more than the usual adjustments in the final numbers.

You can see past Tuesday overnight TV ratings reports here.

Full details:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share 18-34 Rating 18-34 Share Viewers Live+SD (000)
8:00 FOX American Idol (finale part 1) 7.8 24 6.0 21 21.765
CBS NCIS (finale) 3.2 10 2.3 8 15.378
ABC Dancing With the Stars 1.6 5 1.4 5 7.187
UNI Cuidado con el Ángel 1.2 4 1.3 4 3.324
NBC Most Outrageous Moments (repeat) 0.8 3 0.7 2 3.055
CW Reaper 0.7 2 0.8 3 1.841
8:30 FOX American Idol (finale part 1) 8.8 24 6.6 21 24.381
CBS NCIS (finale) 3.5 10 2.4 7 16.800
ABC Dancing With the Stars 2.0 6 1.6 5 8.237
UNI Cuidado con el Ángel 1.4 4 1.4 5 3.698
NBC Most Outrageous Moments (repeat) 1.0 3 0.8 2 3.040
CW Reaper 0.7 2 0.8 3 1.733
9:00 FOX Glee (preview) 5.0 13 4.0 12 12.518
ABC Dancing With the Stars (finale) 4.5 12 2.9 9 17.970
CBS The Mentalist (finale) 3.6 10 2.2 7 16.423
UNI Mañana Es Para Siempre 1.7 5 1.7 5 4.287
NBC Law & Order: SVU (repeat) 1.1 3 1.1 3 3.273
CW 90210 (finale) 1.0 3 1.4 4 2.042
9:30 ABC Dancing With the Stars (finale) 4.8 12 3.0 9 19.344
CBS The Mentalist (finale) 3.9 10 2.4 7 17.248
FOX Glee (preview) 3.7 9 3.1 9 8.971
UNI Mañana Es Para Siempre 1.9 5 1.9 6 4.525
NBC Law & Order: SVU (repeat) 1.3 3 1.2 4 3.763
CW 90210 (finale) 1.1 3 1.5 4 2.137
10:00 ABC Dancing With the Stars (finale) 5.5 14 3.8 11 21.202
CBS Without A Trace (finale) 2.5 7 1.5 4 11.645
NBC Law & Order: SVU 2.3 6 2.1 6 6.519
UNI Aqui y Ahora 1.3 4 1.3 4 3.321
10:30 ABC Dancing With the Stars (finale) 5.8 16 4.2 13 21.992
NBC Law & Order: SVU 2.6 7 2.1 6 6.942
CBS Without A Trace (finale) 2.5 7 1.4 4 10.996
UNI Aqui y Ahora 1.1 3 1.1 3 2.869

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. 


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 which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. 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.

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