8:25am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'How I Met Your Mother' Finale Brings Series Highs
How I Met Your Mother wrapped its nine-season run on Monday night, surging to series highs in the process. The one-hour episode, which promised payout on the title's long-teased mystery, was the most-watched to date with 12.9 million viewers.
Perennially one of CBS' youngest-skewing sitcoms, and its No. 2 behind The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother fared even better in the adults 18-49 demographic. The episode also averaged a 5.3 rating in the group -- another series high.
It's been a while since a comedy finale brought in that kind of number. Big Bang's regularly huge performance excluded, comedies are rarely heavyweights for the Big Four these days -- and last year's conclusions for veteran sitcoms The Office (2.9 adults rating) and 30 Rock (1.9 adults) were modest by comparison.
Though it wasn't the most-watched TV series of the night, How I Met Your Mother was easily the biggest with adults under 50. NBC's The Voice came in a distant second with a 3.4 rating.
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Since How I Met Your Mother ran until 9:01 p.m., the premiere of Friends With Better Lives (2.7 adults) could see adjustments in final returns. As it stands, the solid premiere number is CBS' best Monday comedy debut since 2 Broke Girls in 2011 -- but it lost half of its lofty one-time-only lead-in. Mom (2.2 adults) improved a tenth of a point and Intelligence (1.2 adults) improved by a tenth, giving CBS second-place status in the demo for the night with an average 3.0 rating and 8.7 million viewers.
The Voice and The Blacklist (an even 2.8 adults rating) ensured that NBC had a nightly win in the demo and total viewers, averaging out to a 3.2 adults rating and an audience of 11.9 million.
On ABC, the night's most-watched show, Dancing With the Stars, dropped another tenth of a point for a season low 2.2 rating among adults 18-49. With a Castle encore, ABC took a 1.8 rating with adults 18-49 and 11.6 million viewers for the night.
Bones brought the night's only non-CBS growth to Fox, improving a tenth of a point from last week for a 1.5 rating. The Following (1.4 adults) held steady, giving Fox an average 1.4 rating and 4.9 million viewers for the night.
Star-Crossed (0.4 adults) improved a tenth of a point from last week, while The Tomorrow People (0.5 adults) moved up by two-tenths on The CW. With an average 0.4 rating and 1.1 million viewers, it was the network's most-watched Monday in more than a year.