It was a tale of two shows headed in opposite directions for a pair of finales on the broadcast networks Thursday night, but the series that surged in the ratings is now off the air while the series that plunged is likely to be around for a while.
NBC’s farewell episode of “The Office” saw a healthy increase in viewers, delivering a 3.0 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, based on time zone-adjusted Nielsen numbers reported by TVbytheNumbers.com. Meanwhile, the season finale of Fox’s “American Idol” sank 44% from last year’s number, drooping to a time zone-adjusted 3.6 in the demo. It was reportedly "Idol’s" all-time lowest-rated finale.
For “The Office,” the 3.0 in 18-49 for the 75-minute finale represented a 16-month high and a big jump from last week’s 2.3. NBC opened the night with a retrospective hour focused on the series, which turned in a 2.0. “Hannibal” slipped one-tenth to a 1.0.
The top show of the night was the season finale of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” which delivered a 4.4 in the 18-49 demo, matching the number for last year’s finale but losing five-tenths of a ratings point from last week’s episode. Also on CBS, “Elementary’s” two-hour season finale scraped up a 2.0 average, rising one-tenth from the series low the show suffered a week ago.
ABC also offered up a couple of season finales, with “Scandal” turning in a 3.2 average in viewers 18-49, equaling last week’s number, while “Grey’s Anatomy” dipped one-tenth to a 3.0. “Wipeout” fell three-tenths to a series-low 1.0.
Even with “Idol” way down, Fox still easily won the night, based on pre-time zone-adjusted numbers. Fox averaged a 3.4 for prime time overall in viewers 18-49 to CBS’s 2.6, ABC’s 2.4 and NBC’s 2.2. Fox was also on top in total viewers, averaging 13.6 million to lead CBS (10.4 million), ABC (7.2 million) and NBC (4.4 million).