Dominant American Idol’s finale was second-lowest rated; season viewership down, too

Ratings for American Idol 8‘s pee-in-your-pants shocker of a finale were down from last year, a reversal after ratings rebounded for last season’s finale. That made the finale the second lowest-rated ever, only beating season one’s Sept. 2002 finale.

During the 127 minute results show, about 28.8 million people watched, according to TV By the Numbers, although that number could change slightly with DVR viewers and because of the seven-minute overrun. And The Hollywood Reporter notes that the finale “peaked at 34 million viewers in the final half-hour countdown.” (About 23 million watched Tuesday night.)

The average viewership was down from season seven’s 31.66 million viewers and even season six’s 30.7 million. Three years ago, 36.33 million people watched Taylor Hicks win. Taylor Hicks!

Overall, the show’s ratings fell this season, but it remains television’s number-one show by a long shot. Variety notes that the finale “was easily the top-rated program of the May sweep” and “drew roughly three times the demo score of the next highest-rated program on Wednesday, the season finale of ‘Criminal Minds’ on CBS.”

American Idol finale surprise draws 28.8 million [TV By the Numbers]
‘Idol’ finale scores all-time ratings low [Hollywood Reporter]
‘Idol’ ratings down, still dominant [Variety]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.