'Idol' Regains Thrown-In Season Finale
"Idol" grabbed a Nielsen preliminary 9.8 rating/27 share among 18-49 viewers and 26.5 million total viewers--its best numbers since March. It also improved on its finale of a year ago--barely. The 2007 finale was 9.7/27, with 25.3 million total viewers. For the night this year, Fox averaged a 7.6/20 among 18-49 viewers, easily taking the lead among all networks.
ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" perked up as well for its two-hour finale with a 5.3/14 and 19.9 million total viewers. Once "Idol" left the airwaves at 9:02 p.m., "Stars" dominated among 18-49 viewers. But its overall numbers were still 20% lower than its season-ender of a year ago. ABC ended the night at a 4.1/11.
The two heavyweight reality shows dominated the next-to-the-last night of the season; the other networks offered lower viewer-level programming results.
CBS' two-hour finale of "NCIS" earned a 3.4/9 in 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers overall--the show's best results since November. The series finale of "Shark" took in a 2.5/6.
NBC decided to sit on the sidelines with a string of reruns, including "Law & Order: SVU" that gave the network its best numbers that night: 2.0/5 in 18-49.
But the Big 4's numbers proved to be an opportunity for Univision, which scored a nice fourth-place victory on Tuesday night, averaging a 1.8/5 among 18-49 viewers. NBC earned a 1.6/4. CW, in sixth place, took a 1.0/3.