May 26, 2011 8:53am PT by Lindsay Powers, Philiana Ng
TV Ratings: 'Idol' Finale Up From Last Year
This year's American Idol Season 10 finale -- in which Scott McCreery was crowned the winner -- was up 9 percent in the demo and 17 percent in total viewers from 2010, according to preliminary numbers.
Idol drew an 8.9 in the all-important adults 18-49 demo and averaged 28.2 million viewers. Last year, 24.2 million tuned in to the finale last year. This is the first time American Idol has shown year-to-year growth for the finale in the demo since 2006 and 2008 in total viewers. When the winner was being crowned between 10 and 10:07 p.m., 38.6 million total viewers tuned in.
Wednesday's finale beat ABC's Dancing With the Stars season closer on Tuesday by 32 percent in total viewers; however, the DWTS finale beat the penultimate American Idol episode. While Fox clearly dominated a quiet night on broadcast -- CBS and CW again aired mostly repeats -- ABC placed a distant second in the demo and No. 3 in viewers.
The majority of ABC's comedy block dipped for their finales compared to last season's closers: The Middle (7.4 million, 2.2) sank 12 percent, Modern Family (10.2 million, 4.1) dropped 5 percent and the hourlong Hawaii-set episode of Cougar Town (5.1 million, 2.0) -- with a cameo from Community star Danny Pudi -- was down 29 percent. Newly-renewed Happy Endings (4.1 million, 1.7) was the exception to the rule, rising 31 percent from its previous telecast.
CBS ranked third in the demo with the final episode of Criminal Minds spinoff Suspect Behavior (7.5 million, 2.0) with Forest Whitaker, steady with its last episode.
The series finale of Law & Order: LA offshoot averaged 5.6 million and a 1.4 rating; NBC placed fourth for the night. Notably, Univision's Triunfo del Amor (3.7 million, 1.5) beat LOLA in the demo.