"Lost" found its ratings legs for its series finale -- but the iconic ABC show results were somewhat muted.
While its series finale bested its last three season's finales, the numbers were somewhat lower than expected -- a Nielsen preliminary 5.8 rating/14 share. But by way of comparison, the sci-fi mystery ABC show bested its season debut September 2009 start by just three-tenths of a rating point, which tallied a 5.5 rating.
"Lost" also took in a 4.0 rating/11 share for its early evening highlight show -- all of which grabbed ABC the easy win. For the most part, other networks sat on the sidelines in lieu of competing with the big event.
ABC more than doubled second-place NBC -- posting an adults 4.8/14 to NBC's 2.4/7. Then came Fox, at 2.2/6; CBS, at 1.5/4; and Univision, at 1.2/3.
A couple of other finales were in the mix. NBC had the best of the results for "Celebrity Apprentice," where sentimental favorite rocker Bret Michaels pulled off a big win.
With all that behind it, the NBC show grabbed a 3.4/9, its best rating ever for a "Celebrity Apprentice." The show was up 10% versus last year's finale results, and almost 50% higher than the previous week's viewership in the demo.
Where Fox has generally been immune to the other network's moves on Sunday night, the "Lost" appearance on a special Sunday night gave it some problems. Perhaps the network's young adult viewers went looking for alternatives to their animation programming.
Fox wasn't just down from its series finales of a year ago -- it was strangely down versus its previous week's numbers. For example, "The Simpsons" finale dropped nearly 15% to a 2.5 rating/8 share versus the week before. "The Cleveland Show" also sank 15% to 2.3/7. Fox's best comedy of the night, "Family Guy," went south nearly 20% to a 3.1/8.
Fox did earn a 2.4/8 among its better 18-34 viewers, good for second place on the night. But it was still almost two full ratings points under ABC at a 4.5/14 in the demo.
CBS went with a concert special, "Brooks & Dunn - The Last Rodeo," which only registered a 1.8/5.