May 24, 2012 9:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'American Idol' Pulls Lowest Finale Ever, Down 32 Percent From 2011
Predictably coming short of seasons past, the American Idol finale still scored a sizable victory on Wednesday night, pulling a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 20.7 million viewers, according to fast affiliate ratings.
History shows that the Fox broadcast likely will add one or two tenths of a point to its demo score and nearly 1 million viewers once final numbers are in, but it is still a far cry from last year's rebounded finale, which brought in a 9.2 demo rating and outpaced 2010 by more than 10 percent. Last night's score was a 32 percent drop from 2011. American Idol did manage to repeat its typical ratings arc of the season, however, rebounding in the finale for highest scores since week two. It improved by nearly 40 percent on Tuesday's performance show and last week's results, each of which pulled a 4.4. in the demo.
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ABC enjoyed gains, both large and small, with its own night of finales. The Middle notched a 2.0 rating with adults 18-49, a tenth of a point above last week but a tenth shy of last season's finale. Modern Family also grew a tenth for a 4.0 in its third-season ender -- though it was down 5 percent from last season's finale. Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 jumped 32 percent for a 2.5 rating in the demo, and Revenge jumped 20 percent, pulling a 2.4 rating in its last episode before moving to Sundays in the fall. ABC averaged a 2.6 demo rating and 7.3 million viewers.
Encores on CBS (1.5 rating with adults 18-49 and 5.9 million viewers) managed to edge NBC's mixed bag of repeats and originals. The 1.4-scoring network had the season finales of Betty White's Off Their Rockers (1.5 with adults 18-49) and Law & Order: SVU (up 12 percent for a 1.9), with encores of both sandwiched in between.
On The CW, America's Next Top Model earned a 0.4 rating with 18-49-ers.