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LOST series finale draws 13.5M viewers; Series’ most-watched episode since February 2008

According to preliminary data, the 2 1/2 hour series finale of LOST drew 13.5 million viewers and a 5.8/15 A18-49 rating/share from 9:00-11:30 p.m, marking its most-watched episode since February 2008 and most-watched finale since May 2007.

Additionally, ABC estimates that 20.5 million unique viewers watched the series finale (unduplicated viewers that watched 6 minutes or more of the program).

Click over the jump for the complete press release.

ABC Wins the Final Sunday of the Season, Leading the Night in Adults 18-49

For the 4th Time in 5 Weeks and for its 6th Consecutive May Sweep Period

ABC Marks its Top-Rated Non-“Oscar” Sunday in Nearly 2-1/2 Years

“Lost: The Final Journey” Recap Special Wins from 7-9pm, Pulling ABC’s Best Non-“Oscar” Adult 18-49 Rating in the Slot Since November 2007

Sunday’s No. 1 TV Show, the Series Finale of “Lost” Soars to the Top of its Time Slot

“Lost” Marks its Best Finale in 3 Years, with the Series’ Top Telecast Since Feb ’08

“Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” Generates Broad Exposure for the Show, with its 3rd-Highest Ever Adult 18-49 Number, Behind only its 2 Post-“Super Bowl” Airings

Sunday Night (7:00-11:00 p.m.)
With the series finale of “Lost,” ABC posted a definitive victory on the final Sunday night of the 2010 May Sweep and 2009-10 TV Season, leading its nearest competition by 2.3 million viewers (11.4 million vs. 9.1 million – CBS) and by 100% in Adults 18-49 (4.8/14 vs. 2.4/7 – NBC). Winning the evening for 4th time in 5 weeks among Adults 18-49, ABC registered its 6th straight May Sweep as Sunday’s No. 1 TV network in the key young adult sales demo.

* Excluding the nights of its “Academy Awards” broadcasts, ABC marked its strongest Sunday in nearly 2-1/2 years among Adults 18-49 – since 12/2/07.

“Lost: The Final Journey” (7:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 7:00-9:00 p.m., “Lost: The Final Journey” (a retrospective covering the series’ 6 seasons) drew an average audience of 9.8 million viewers and a 4.0/13 in Adults 18-49 to win its time period on both counts.

* The “Lost” recap special generated ABC’s best non-“Oscar” Adult 18-49 number in the 2-hour time slot since November 2007 – since 11/25/07.

“Lost” (9:00-11:30 p.m.)
Surging from its lead-in at 9:00 p.m., the 2-1/2 hour series finale of “Lost” pulled in an average audience of 13.5 million viewers and a 5.8/15 in Adults 18-49 to stand as the No. 1 TV show on Sunday night on both counts. “Lost” soared to the top of its time period, beating out its nearest network competition (NBC’s season finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” from 9:00-11:00 p.m.) by 4.2 million viewers by 71% in Adults 18-49. In addition, Lost registered as TV’s highest-rated drama finale this season in Adults 18-49.

* In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, “Lost” generated its biggest finale in 3 years – since 5/23/07. It was the series’ strongest telecast overall since February 2008 in viewers and young adults- since 2/21/08 and 2/14/08, respectively.

* ABC estimates that 20.5 million unique viewers watched the series finale of “Lost” during its 2-1/2 hour broadcast – unduplicated viewers that watched 6-minutes or more of the program.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” (12:05-1:05 a.m.)
From 12:05-1:05 a.m., ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost” generated a big boost and broad exposure to the show, up by 3.22 million viewers (4.88 million vs. 1.66 million) and by 2.04 million in Adults 18-49 (2.73 million vs. 690,000) over its average this season.

* In fact it was “JKL’s” 3rd-largest ever Adult 18-49 audience (any telecast), behind only its 2 post-“Super Bowl” airings.

A note about increasing DVR penetration and year-to-year rating comparisons: Year-to-year rating comparisons based on the Live + Same Day data stream are distorted by the level of DVR penetration in the Nielsen sample, which has jumped up to 36% currently, from 31% at the same point in 2009. More viewers are watching shows on their own timetables, which may not be reflected in the overnight next-day numbers. The only truly valid year-to-year comparison would be one based on the Live + 7 Day metric, once those stats are released by Nielsen.

Source: Nielsen Media Research (Fast Affiliate, Live + Same Day Ratings), 5/23/10.

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