Oprah's finale draws a huge audience
Preliminary metered-market ratings for Winfrey's last show on Wednesday (May 25) have the program at a 13.3 household rating. That's its best number since 1994 -- which was eight years into "The Oprah Winfrey Show's" 25-year run and before anyone had ever heard of Dr. Phil.
A final viewer count from Nielsen won't be available for a couple weeks, but the 13.3 rating should translate to somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 million viewers. That would make the "Oprah" finale one of the most-watched programs of this week regardless of where or when it aired; it's likely that only "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" will rank higher.
The most recent final ratings for Winfrey's show come from the week of May 9-13, where it averaged a 5.4 rating among households and 7.35 million viewers (household ratings measure the percentage of homes whose TVs were tuned to a particular show, not the number of people in front of those TVs). If the household-to-viewer ratio is roughly the same for Wednesday's show as it was for that week, that works out to a shade over 18 million people.
Oprah's two-part "Farewell Spectacular" on Monday and Tuesday drew metered-market ratings of 10.2 and 10.7.