The series finale of “American Idol” drew the largest audience for a season finale of the Fox singing competition since 2013, helping Fox become the week’s most-watched network among the young adult viewers it targets.
The two-hour, six-minute finale Thursday averaged 13.31 million viewers, placing it fourth among the prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between April 4 and April 10, according to live-plus-same day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
Viewership was up 65.8 percent from last year’s season finale, which averaged 8.03 million viewers, setting a record low for the fourth consecutive season.
The first final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to air on cable drew the game’s smallest audience among available records, which date back to 1975. However, TBS’ coverage of Villanova’s 77-74 victory over North Carolina on April 4 averaged 13.85 million viewers, second for the week behind CBS’ “NCIS,” which averaged 15.67 million.
The previous low was 17.09 million for the 2004 final, when Connecticut defeated Georgia Tech, 82-73.
Viewership was down 51 percent from last year’s final between Duke and Wisconsin, which averaged 28.26 million viewers, the most for a final since 1997.
The game was the week’s most-watched program by viewers ages 18-49, averaging 5.73 million viewers among the group targeted by ABC, Fox and NBC, and that advertisers pay a premium to reach.
Fox’s hip-hop drama “Empire” was second, averaging 5.4 million, the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” third, averaging 3.9 million, and the “American Idol” finale fourth, averaging 3.86 million.
CBS was the most-watched network for the fourth consecutive week and 21st time in the 29-week-old season, averaging 7.77 million viewers. NBC was second averaging 5.74 million, followed by Fox, which averaged 5.42 million, and ABC, which averaged 5.02 million.
As is often the case during the spring, singing and dancing competitions were well represented among the week’s most-watched programs.
ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” was eighth for the week, averaging 11.72 million viewers, and the Monday edition of the NBC singing competition “The Voice” was 10th, averaging 10.43 million viewers, with its final 41 minutes competing for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones against the NCAA final.
Fox was first among viewers ages 18-49, averaging 1.85 million viewers. CBS was second, averaging 1.61 million viewers, after finishing first each of the previous three weeks. ABC and NBC tied for third, both averaging 1.46 million viewers.
ABC, CBS, and NBC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes and Fox 15 hours, six minutes.
Coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament enabled TBS to be the week’s most-watched cable network for the third consecutive week, averaging 2.7 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second, averaging 1.91 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language program was the April 4 episode of the Univision telenovela “Pasion y Poder” which averaged 2.46 million viewers, 104th overall.
As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 1.89 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.19 million, followed by UniMas, which averaged 610,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 210,000, MundoMax, which averaged 120,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 110,000.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the ninth consecutive week and 39th time in the 42 weeks since Holt was named as the anchor, averaging 8.32 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 7.93 million.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than four years as anchor, averaging 6.76 million.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “NCIS”; TBS’ coverage of the final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”; the Thursday edition of Fox’s “American Idol”; CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans; the 8 p.m. Sunday broadcast of NBC’s “Little Big Shots”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; Fox’s “Empire”; and the Monday edition of NBC’s “The Voice.”
–City News Service
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