JT Thomas’ victory over Stephen Fishbach on the Sunday conclusion to Survivor Tocantins was actually the series’ lowest-rated finale to date, although it beat most of its competition during the evening.
As a CBS press release noted, the finale “placed first in its time period in viewers and key demographics, leading CBS to its 12th consecutive Sunday win in viewers,” although the finale was beaten just barely by Desperate Housewives at 10 p.m.
12.74 million people watched the two-hour finale, while 11.85 million stuck around for the reunion, although those numbers have some overlap, since CBS says the episode lasted until 10:08, when JT was revealed to be the second unanimous winner in the show’s 18-season history.
That’s down five percent from last December’s Survivor Gabon finale, which had 13.76 million viewers, and also down from the previously lowest-rated finale, last May’s conclusion of Survivor Micronesia, which had 13 million viewers. Typically, more people tune in to December finales than May finales.