The Bigger They Are, the Harder They Fall: ‘Idol’ Finale Loses 32% From Last Year, Sets All-Time Low for Series … and Still Easily Wins the Night

May 24, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The 2011-12 television season officially wrapped up Wednesday night, with CBS continuing its strategy of airing repeat programming and Fox coasting to an easy win for the night behind the “American Idol” finale, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

According to Nielsen overnights, the two-hour “Idol” finale scored a 6.1 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, easily outdistancing everything else on the broadcast networks. But that number was off a troubling 32% from the 9.2 average rating turned in by last year’s finale, and marked the lowest-rated finale in series history. On the other hand, it was way up from the 4.9 for last week’s results show.

In total viewers, “Idol” averaged 20.7 million, off substantially from the 29 million who turned out for last year’s finale.

The closest anyone came to “Idol” in the key 18-49 demo was ABC’s season finale of “Modern Family,” which pulled in a 4.0 average rating, down 5% from last year’s finale. Elsewhere on ABC the season finale of “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” showed signs of life, bouncing back from last week’s series-low 1.9 to pull in a 2.5. “Revenge” also improved, rising four-tenths of a ratings point from last week to score a 2.4 for its finale. The finale of “The Middle” had a 2.0, down 5% from last year’s finale.

The grim news continued for NBC, with the season finale of “Law & Order: SVU” at 10 p.m. managing only a 1.9 average in 18-49, the series’ lowest-rated finale ever. That was still better than the 1.5 for “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” at 8 p.m. — the same number turned in by a repeat episode that followed it.

For prime time overall, Fox’s 6.1 average rating in 18-49 put it well ahead of ABC (2.6 average), Univision (2.0), CBS (1.5) and NBC (1.4). Fox dominated total viewers, averaging 20.7 million to 7.3 million for ABC, 5.9 million for CBS, 5.4 million for NBC and 5.0 million for Univision.

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