Survivor survives move but has lowest-rated finale ever, which lost 3 million viewers in its first hour

Survivor Nicaragua‘s move back to Wednesday nights didn’t impact the show’s ratings, but this weak season was reflected in the ratings of the finale, which was the lowest-rated ever, and actually lost more than 3 million viewers between the first and second half-hours.

About 17.236 million viewers tuned in during the first half-hour, but in the 8:30 half-our, just 13.895 million people were watching. They stuck around for the rest of the show and the reunion. That’s according to ratings data complied by TV By the Numbers, which notes that among viewers ages 18 to 49, this was “a series finale low, down 7% vs. last Fall’s Survivor: Samoa finale 4.4 adults 18-49 rating. Although because of the football overrun, adjustments are more likely than usual, even a 4.2 rating would tie an all time low for a finale.”

But Media Life notes that “it was still easily the top-rated non-football program on a rerun-packed night dominated once again by the NFL,” and the show did well on Wednesday at 8, consistently and easily winning its timeslot, which is all that really matters. Viewers followed the show from Thursdays to Wednesdays, and CBS has to be thrilled by that, even if the season was a stinker.

Speaking of that, while Jud “Fabio” Birza’s win was a good ending, he is nearly incoherent in interviews, and doesn’t do a good job of making his win seem satisfying in any way. Less than two months until Redemption Island changes the game.

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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.