Survivor Fiji has the show’s lowest-rated finale yet, but the series remains a top 12 show

Despite the dramatic Tribal Council during the finale of Survivor Fiji, the show was beaten in the 9 p.m. hour by ABC’s Desperate Housewives, and overall, the two-hour finale was watched by a record-low 13.6 million viewers.

With 12.1 million viewers, the reunion hour “won its first half-hour — during which Santa Monica-based advertising executive Earl Cole was revealed the winner of the $1 million prize — but was surpassed by ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” (12 million, 4.3/12) in the second half-hour,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Overall, the ratings “marked the series’ lowest-rated finale ever.” Last fall, 16.4 million watched Survivor Cook Islands’ finale; one year ago, Survivor Panama was watched by an average of 17 million people.

All of this sounds like bad news, but the series remains firmly in the top 20, and even the top 15. That’s surprising because, among other things, Lost gets more press but is watched by fewer viewers. For both the week ending May 6 and the week ending April 29, it was the number 12 show, beating Lost and Deal or No Deal overall, among other series; the week ending April 22, it was the number nine show.