TV ratings: 'American Idol' finale way down from last year

lee-dewyze-idol-winner.jpgFast National ratings for Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It still dominated Wednesday night, but the "American Idol" finale fell significantly from its ratings performance last year, which in turn was off from the 2008 finale.

"Idol" and FOX averaged 23.15 million viewers and a 13.0 rating/22 share in households, about 17 percent lower than the preliminary numbers for the 2009 finale (the numbers will probably tick up some in the time zone-adjusted ratings; Zap2it will have those numbers when they come in). CBS was the best of the rest for the night, drawing 10.3 million viewers and a 6.6/11. ABC (4.8 million, 3.1/5) came in third, followed by NBC (3.3 million, 2.2/4) and The CW (1.4 million, 0.9/2).

FOX was similarly down in the adults 18-49 demographic, although its 7.8 rating far surpassed the rest of the field. CBS finished a distant second at 2.4, and ABC was third at 1.8. Neither NBC (0.9) nor The CW (0.6) broke the 1.0 mark.

Wednesday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

FOX:
"American Idol" season finale (19.7 million viewers, 11.3/20 households)
CBS: "Undercover Boss" rerun (6.1 million, 4.0/7)
ABC: Movie: "Transformers" (4.4 million, 3.0/5)
NBC: "Minute to Win It" rerun (3.3 million, 2.1/4)
The CW: "America's Next Top Model" rerun (1.4 million, 1.0/2)

18-49 leader: "American Idol" (6.5)

9 p.m.

FOX:
"American Idol" season finale (26.6 million, 14.7/24)
CBS: "Criminal Minds" season finale (12.8 million, 8.1/13)
ABC: "Transformers" (4.8 million, 3.2/5)
NBC: "Minute to Win It" rerun (2.6 million, 1.8/3)
The CW: "America's Next Top Model" rerun (1.3 million, 0.9/1)

18-49 leader: "American Idol" (9.2)

10 p.m.

CBS:
"CSI: NY" season finale (11.9 million, 7.5/13)
ABC: "Transformers" (5.2 million, 3.3/6)
NBC: "Law & Order: SVU" rerun (3.9 million, 2.7/5)

18-49 leader: "CSI: NY" (2.7)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change. Source: The Nielsen Company.

More ratings at Zap2it: Daily, weekly and cable

Photo credit: FOX