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Broadcast TV Ratings for Thursday, May 29, 2008

The fourth season finale of Lost powered ABC to comfortable win last night, but it wasn’t all good news, as the show was off by 1.66M viewers (12%) and 17% among adults 18-49 from last season’s finale.

Elsewhere on the evening, Fox held steady in second place with a strong showing from So You Think You Can Dance?, while week two of Last Comic Standing fared very poorly, off by 25% among viewers and adults 18-49, allowing CBS to sneak into third place with a slate of repeats.

Continue reading for my full analysis of the night’s programs which includes a season four chart for Lost, detailing the show’s severe loss of viewership over the season.

ABC finished in first place for the evening with a 6.4/11 household rating/share, 10.41 million viewers and a 4.0/11 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 9.9/16 HH rating [#1]
    • 14.78M viewers [#1]
    • 5.5/16 A18-49 rating [#1]
  • 8:00 p.m.: A repeat of the first part of the three-hour Lost finale (4.5/8 HH rating/share, 6.83M viewers, 2.1/7 A18-49 rating/share) drew solid numbers. These “Extended” repeats that ABC has aired of the series this year have fared much better than non-“Extended” repeats, and it looks like what was once a problem for the network (getting people to watch Lost reruns) has at least been partially remedied.
    • Last week’s numbers (Ugly Betty – second season finale):
      • Households – 6.2/11
      • Viewers – 8.75M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.8/9
  • 9:00 p.m.: As was expected, the season four finale of Lost (7.3/12 HH rating/share, 12.20M viewers, 4.9/14 A18-49 rating/share) easily led ABC to a first place finish on the evening among households, viewers and adults 18-49. Compared to the last newly aired episode which aired two weeks ago, the show made gains of 6% among households, 11%/1.24M among viewers and was even among adults 18-49. Certainly good news that the finale drew a few more eyeballs, but this is quite the decline compared against last season’s finale and it actually fell below the season four average (as you can see from the numbers and chart I’ve posted below). Definitely an up and down season for Lost. After starting off very strong for its season premiere (16.14M viewers and a 6.7/17 A18-49 rating/share) it’s just been one decline, after another, after another. Just take a look at that chart below. It dropped 24% among viewers and 27% among adults 18-49 from that promising start. One positive worth noting is its continued strength among A18-49. Let’s be hopeful that the same amount of fans that tuned in for the fourth season premiere in January, decide to return for season five and that more of them stick around. After all, that was quite the finale last night wasn’t it? Great entertainment.
    • Episode-to-episode numbers (5/15/2008):
      • Households – 6.9/12 to 7.3/12
      • Viewers – 10.96M to 12.20M
      • Adults 18-49 – 4.9/13 to 4.9/14
    • Season finale comparison (Wednesday, 5/23/2007 – 9-11pm):
      • Households – 8.0/13 to 7.3/12
      • Viewers – 13.86M to 12.20M
      • Adults 18-49 – 5.9/15 to 4.9/14
    • Season four average (1/31/2008 to 5/29/2008–13 episodes/14 hours):
    • Last week’s numbers (Grey’s Anatomy – 9-11pm):
      • Households – 11.8/19
      • Viewers – 18.09M
      • Adults 18-49 – 7.0/19

FOX followed in second place for the evening with a 5.9/10 household rating/share, 9.35 million viewers and a 3.6/11 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 5.2/9 HH rating [#2]
    • 8.60M viewers [#2]
    • 3.4/10 A18-49 rating [#2]
  • 8:00 p.m.: So You Think You Can Dance? (5.9/10 HH rating/share, 9.35M viewers, 3.6/11 A18-49 rating/share) continues to perform quite well for the network, proving again that it has no trouble anchoring its own night, even when faced with the season finale of a popular series (for the second week in a row I might add). It actually managed to post gains among households (+12%), viewers (+610,000/7%) and adults 18-49 (+3%). Not bad.
    • Episode-to-episode numbers (Wednesday, 5/28/2008–fast nationals):
      • Households – 5.8/10 to 5.9/10
      • Viewers – 9.26M to 9.35M
      • Adults 18-49 – 3.6/10 to 3.6/11
    • Week-to-week numbers (season four premiere):
      • Households – 5.3/9 to 5.9/10
      • Viewers – 8.74M to 9.35M
      • Adults 18-49 – 3.5/10 to 3.6/11

CBS finished in third place for the evening with a 4.9/8 household rating/share, 7.32 million viewers and a 1.9/6 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 4.2/7 HH rating [#4]
    • 6.19M viewers [#4]
    • 1.5/4 A18-49 rating [#4]
  • Airing an entire night of repeats, the results for CBS were solid as the network increased its viewership from the week prior and remained competitive overall.
  • 8:00 p.m.: A repeat of The Big Bang Theory (3.2/6 HH rating/share, 4.84M viewers, 1.4/5 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 8:30 p.m.: A repeat of How I Met Your Mother (3.2/6 HH rating/share, 4.87M viewers, 1.5/5 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 9:00 p.m.: A repeat of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (5.9/10 HH rating/share, 8.70M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 10:00 p.m.: And a repeat of Without a Trace (5.7/10 HH rating/share, 8.42M viewers, 2.1/6 A18-49 rating/share) ended the evening for CBS.

NBC followed in fourth place for the evening with a 2.8/5 household rating/share, 4.09 million viewers and a 1.7/5 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 5.3/9 HH rating [#3]
    • 8.08M viewers [#3]
    • 2.4/7 A18-49 rating [#3]
  • 8:00 p.m.: A repeat of The Office (2.5/5 HH rating/share, 3.51M viewers, 1.2/4 A18-49 rating/share).
    • Last week’s numbers (Deal or No Deal):
      • Households – 6.8/12
      • Viewers – 10.33M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.5/8
  • 8:30 p.m.: A two-hour edition of Last Comic Standing (2.9/5 HH rating/share, 4.37M viewers, 1.8/5 A18-49 rating/share) faltered. Numbers from the season six premiere last week were already not very promising, but considering it went head-to-head with Grey’s Anatomy, the news wasn’t entirely grim. But this week’s numbers really hurt the show. It fell by 22% among households, 25%/1.49M among viewers and 25% among adults 18-49. We’ll see how the show fares in coming weeks, but unless it rebounds a bit, it’s not hard to imagine this being its last season.
    • Week-to-week numbers (season six premiere):
      • Households – 3.7/6 to 2.9/5
      • Viewers – 5.86M to 4.37M
      • Adults 18-49 – 2.4/6 to 1.8/5
  • 10:30 p.m.: Another repeat of The Office (2.5/4 HH rating/share, 3.57M viewers, 1.6/4 A18-49 rating/share).

The CW finished in fifth place for the evening with a 1.1/2 household rating/share, 1.68 million viewers and a 0.6/2 rating/share among adults 18-49.

  • Last Week:
    • 1.3/2 HH rating [#5]
    • 1.95M viewers [#5]
    • 0.7/2 A18-49 rating [#5]
  • 8:00 p.m.: A repeat of Smallville (1.2/2 HH rating/share, 1.86M viewers, 0.7/2 A18-49 rating/share).
  • 9:00 p.m.: And a repeat of Supernatural (1.0/2 HH rating/share, 1.51M viewers, 0.5/1 A18-49 rating/share) ended the evening for The CW.

Note: Network average numbers from the week prior are based on fast national data. Comparison’s from the week prior (or episode-to-episode, etc.) on specific shows are based on final national data. Ratings for the current day are based on fast nationals. (Expect all three scenarios to be the case at all times, unless otherwise noted). The final rating for first-run episodes that aired this evening will be reported the following week. So for example, the final rating for tonight’s episode of “Lost” will be reported in next weeks report for Thursday, June 5, 2008.

Also keep in mind that because these are fast national ratings, numbers may increase or decrease when the final nationals are released.

Source: Fast/Final National Ratings Data from Nielsen Media Research. Daily ratings figures can be found at PIFeedback and Zap2It.