The 12th season final of "American Idol
" was, as one might expect given numbers for the entire installment, the lowest rated in the show's history. Still, "Idol" was able to cruise past finales for shows like "Grey's Anatomy
" and the series finale of "The Office
" to lead FOX to Thursday wins. [And no, the "Idol" finale wasn't able to beat the "Big Bang Theory" finale, but you can't have everything.]
Don't expect much accuracy from these ratings. The "Idol" finale ran til 10:07, outside of FOX's normal primetime window. The "Office" finale run until 10:15. The "Grey's Anatomy" finale extended two minutes into the 10 p.m. hour.
Leaving accuracy aside, it's possible to glean that "Big Bang Theory" was down for its finale, "The Office" did its best numbers since early 2012 and even "The Vampire Diaries
" got a tiny finale bump.
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 3.4 rating for Thursday night, tops in the key demographic. [Note, again, that the 3.4 rating is FOX's average from 8 to 10 and not for its entire 127-minute programming block last night.] CBS was second with a 2.6 key demo rating, followed by ABC's 2.4 key demo rating and the 2.2 key demo rating for NBC. The CW averaged a 0.8 key demo rating for Thursday night.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 13.61 million viewers and an 8.3 rating /14 share from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. CBS was second with a 6.5/11 and 10.35 million viewers, beating ABC's 7.19 million viewers and 4.8/8. NBC was fourth with a 2.7/4 and 4.44 million viewers, while The CW averaged 1.77 million viewers and a 1.2/2.
[It's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but I'm sure you still want it: The same inaccurate Fast Nationals for last year's "Idol" finale from 8 to 10 p.m. were 20.7 million viewers and over a 6 in the key demo. That was on a Wednesday night against significantly less competition.]
8 p.m. - CBS won the 8 p.m. hour with the "Big Bang Theory" finale (14.78 million and a 4.4 key demo) and a "Big Bang Theory" repeat (11.64 million viewers and a 3.2 key demo rating). FOX's "American Idol" finale was second with 12.29 million viewers and a 3.0 key demo rating, though it did beat the "TBBT" repeat in the key demo. NBC's "The Office" retrospective averaged 4.37 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating for third, easily topping the 3.815 million viewers and 1.0 key demo rating for "Wipeout" on ABC. The CW's finale for "The Vampire Diaries" averaged 2.2 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating.
9 p.m. -
The second hour of the "American Idol" finale rose to 14.93 million viewers and a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49 for FOX. CBS was second overall with 9.11 million viewers for the first hour of the "Elementary" finale, which was fourth with a 2.1 key demo rating. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" finale averaged 8.63 million viewers and a 3.0 key demo rating. The first hour of the "Office" finale drew 5.41 million viewers and a 2.9 key demo rating for NBC, the show's best hour since January 2012. The CW's "Beauty and the Beast
" finale averaged 1.335 million viewers and a 0.5 key demo rating.
10 p.m. -
"Scandal" won the 10 p.m. hour with 9.13 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 for its second season finale. "Elementary" dropped to 8.75 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating in its second hour. And, honestly, there's no point in trying to make much sense of what NBC did in the hour. The combination of 15 minutes of "The Office" and 45 minutes of "Hannibal
" averaged 3.53 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating, but the 10:30 all-"Hannibal" half-hour was down to 2.47 million and a 1.0 key 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, particularly in the case of live events or strange finale-night runtimes.