8:25am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'American Idol' Finale Sheds 7 Million Viewers, 'Office' Finishes Strong
American Idol wrapped its twelfth season on Fox with a low for a finale. Final returns have the two-hour episode (which aired between 8 and 10:08 p.m.) averaging a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49, a massive 44 percent drop from last year's ender. Among total viewers, American Idol was down 7.2 million viewers to 14.3 million -- the first time a finale has not reached the 20-million mark.
Though American Idol still easily won the night for Fox, it remains a far cry from last year's ender. That episode, on the less competitive Wednesday, brought in a finale low of a 6.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.5 million viewers -- and that was down from the 9.2 adults rating and 29.3 million in 2011.
The night's top performer -- in viewers and adults 18-49 -- was CBS' The Big Bang Theory. Averaging a 4.4 rating in the demo and 14.8 million viewers, the finale was even with last year's ender -- though down 10 percent from last week. A two-hour Elementary (2.0 adults) inched up by a tenth of a point, week over week, to wrap its first season. The network averaged a 2.6 in the demo and 10.4 million viewers.
Wipeout (1.0 adults) kicked off the night down three tenths of a point from last week's opener, hitting a series low. Grey's Anatomy (3.0 adults) was off a tenth of a point from last week in its finale -- and a more substantial 1.1 points from last year's finale. Scandal (3.2 adults) outperformed its lead with an even showing from last week and a nine tenths of a point jump from last year's finale. ABC averaged a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers.
As for the series finale of NBC's The Office, the first hour of the extended 75-minute episode averaged a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49. That marks a 16-month high for the steady series, which hadn't performed as well since January 2012. It came on the heels of a retrospective clip show (2.0 adults), and though final adjustments should see its score change, with Hannibal likely coming in lower, the 10 p.m. hour for NBC currently averages a 1.7 rating in the demo. The network pulled a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating and 4.4 million viewers for the night.
Both The Vampire Diaries (1.0 adults) and Beauty and the Beast (0.5 adults) matched last week's ratings in their season finales, giving the CW an average 0.8 rating in the targeted demo and 1.8 million viewers.