'Sopranos' Body Count: 11.9 Million

Almost 12 million people watched the finale of "The Sopranos" on Sunday night, and seemingly every one of them has made his or her opinion about it known.

The show's much-discussed and heavily dissected finale played to 11.9 million viewers, a big increase from its average this spring and the biggest audience for a "Sopranos" episode since the season five premiere (12.1 million viewers) in March 2004. The series had been drawing between 7 million and 8 million viewers per week over its final episodes.

The 11.9 million viewers also makes "The Sopranos" Sunday's most-watched program by a pretty healthy margin. The NBA Finals on ABC averaged about 8 million viewers, and the Tony Awards on CBS drew only 6.2 million people, the smallest audience for the awards in 15 years.

In fact, it was the No. 2 show on all of television, cable or broadcast, last week. Only the season premiere of "America's Got Talent" on NBC, which drew about 13 million viewers, had a bigger audience.

HBO is in about 40 million homes, compared to 100 million-plus for the broadcast networks.

The open-ended finale -- and particularly the final scene, which cut to a black screen as Tony (James Gandolfini) warily eyed fellow patrons in a diner -- has sparked a love-it-or-hate-it reaction from viewers, with those on the love-it side praising the ambiguity and those on the hate-it side calling for the head of creator David Chase, who wrote and directed the finale.

The final nine episodes of "The Sopranos" averaged 8.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen measurements.