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NEW YORK — The “American Idol” finale last week drove Fox to a win in the TV rankings for the week ending Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The season came to a close Sunday with two of broadcast TV’s highest-rated shows slugging it out in a battle that “Idol” won, but “Idol” and “Lost” were down from previous season finales.
The week started off Monday with the penultimate episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” which notched 20.2 million viewers and a 5.3 rating/15 share in the key adults 18-49 demographic. That, along with the finale of “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman” (12.7 million, 4.8/12), led ABC to a win despite NBC’s “Heroes” (13.5 million, 6.2/15) coming out ahead of both in the demo. Fox’s “24” (10.3 million, 3.8/10) concluded its season off as well.
The penultimate episode of “Idol” (25.3 million, 9.7/27) gave Fox the leg up Tuesday, but a poor showing by the premiere of the Fox reality series “On the Lot” (7.6 million, 3.6/9) allowed ABC win in viewership thanks to the “Dancing” finale (23 million, 6.7/17), though Fox still won in 18-49.
Fox again proved victorious Wednesday with the two-hour-plus finale of “Idol” (30.7 million, 11.5/31), which competed for an hour against the two-hour season finale of “Lost” (13.9 million, 5.9/15).
Thursday saw the premiere of “So You Think You Can Dance” (9.5 million, 3.7/12), which helped Fox win the night in 18-49 despite a second poor showing from “Lot” (5.2 million, 2.1/6). But CBS won in viewership with a night of repeats highlighted by “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (13.8 million, 4.1/12), which even beat “Dance” in the demo.
ABC and CBS split Friday, with CBS winning in viewership, while ABC won in the demo thanks to “National Bingo Night” (5.5 million, 1.8/6) and “20/20” (5.8 million, 1.6/6). CBS won Saturday in viewers thanks to two hours of “48 Hours Mystery” (5.5 million, 1.2/4 and 7.1 million, 2.0/7), while Fox won the demo.
Sunday was a day and night of racing, with ABC’s Indianapolis 500 averaging 6.4 million viewers and a 1.9 in 18-49, while Fox’s running of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 in primetime averaged 7.5 million viewers and a 2.7 rating in the demo. It was the seventh consecutive year that the Coca-Cola 600 topped the Indy 500.
Meanwhile, ABC’s “World News With Charles Gibson” won last week in the evening newscast race with 7.8 million viewers and a 2.0/9 in the adults 25-54 demo. That compared with NBC (7.2 million, 1.8/8) and CBS (5.96 million, 1.5/7). It was the fifth straight week the network had won the race, and it also won the May sweep period.
NBC is ahead season-to-date with 8.8 million viewers, compared with ABC’s 8.7 million viewers and CBS’ 7.1 million. NBC has led for 11 straight seasons.
For the week, Fox averaged 11.6 million viewers and a 4.4/14 in the demo, followed by CBS (9 million, 2.2/7), ABC (8.9 million, 3.0/9), NBC (5.5 million, 1.9/6) and the CW network (2 million, 0.8/2).
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