TV Ratings: 'Lost' finale delivers big Sunday win for ABC
Lengthy send-off averages nearly 13.5 million viewers and strong demos
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The season finale of "Lost," plus two hours of associated pre-finale coverage, delivered big, but not huge, numbers on Sunday night. They weren't the sort of numbers that a "Friends" finale drew, but that isn't surprising due to the concentrated nature of the "Lost" fanbase over the years.
Ultimately, the two-and-half hour "Lost" finale (extending out of primetime to 11:30 p.m.) averaged nearly 13.5 million viewers and, more impressively, pulled in a 5.8 demo rating, carrying ABC to easy wins on Sunday.
Among adults 18-49, ABC averaged a 4.8 rating, far ahead of the 2.4 rating for NBC or the 2.2 rating for FOX. CBS trailed with a 1.5 rating.
Overall, ABC averaged an estimated 11.44 million viewers to go with a 6.4 rating/11 share. CBS was second overall with a 5.8/10. NBC's 4.6/8 was third, beating the 2.7/5 for FOX.
CBS started the night in first overall with a 6.1/11 for "60 Minutes." ABC's "Lost: The Final Journey" tribute special did a 5.2/10 and won the hour easily in the key demo with a 3.7 rating. "Dateline NBC" was third, beating the 1.5/3 for "'Til Death" and a "Simpsons" repeat on FOX.
In the 8 p.m. hour, CBS' Brooks & Dunn special and ABC's "Lost: The Final Journey" both had a 5.9/10. The "Lost" special averaged more than 1.2 million viewers than the CBS special and had a 4.3 demo rating to win the hour. "Minute to Win It" kept NBC in third, ahead of the 3.0/5 for season finales of "The Simpsons" and "The Cleveland Show" on FOX.
The first hour of the actual "Lost" finale did a 7.2/11 for ABC, averaging 13 million viewers and a 5.6 demo rating. CBS' Brooks & Dunn special improve hour-to-hour and stayed second overall (fourth in the demo). The first hour of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" was second with a 5.3/8, beating the 3.6/6 for FOX's "Family Guy" finale, though both shows tied for second in the demo with a 3.1 rating.
The "Lost" finale" had a nearly identical 7.2/12 and a 5.6 demo rating in its second hour. NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" had a 6.2/10 and a 3.6 demo rating in the 10 p.m. hour. CBS aired a "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" repeat and didn't really compete.
[Note that the last half-hour of "Lost," out of official primetime, went up to an 8.7/17 and a 6.4 demo rating.]
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.