ABC wins night with finale, but CBS strong with total viewers

The two-hour season finale of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” in which a revenge-minded gunman shot and killed several members of the hospital staff, dominated the final Thursday of the television season. ABC won the night with ease in all key demos, while CBS held the advantage in total viewers.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Grey’s Anatomy” averaged a strong 5.3 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 15.0 million viewers overall — rising about 35% above its recent range, growing with each half-hour and hitting a six-month high; from 10:30 to 11, the veteran drama doubled its closest competitor in 18-49 (6.2 to 3.1). Despite the strong performance, “Grey’s” still came in down some vs. its year-ago finale.

CBS, which placed second to ABC on the night in key demos, started slowly with a special repeat of “The Mentalist” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) before delivering solid numbers with the finales of crime dramas “CSI” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 14.2 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall, both of which declined roughly 10% vs. their year-ago finales.

Fox won the night’s opening with drama “Bones” (2.8/10 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), which crushed ABC drama competition “FlashForward” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and came in 8% above last year’s finale in the same timeslot. Not faring as well opposite the big finales on other nets at 9 was “Fringe” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), which placed a distant fourth.

At NBC, “Community” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) and “Parks and Recreation” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall) ran second in the 8 o’clock hour, and were in line with their recent performances. They were followed by “The Office” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall), which was on par with both last week and its finale of a year ago, and “30 Rock” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), which grew 12% week to week and matched last year’s season finale.

CW, whose dramas wrapped the previous week, went with encores of “Smallville” at both 8 (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) and 9 (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 4.1/12; CBS, 2.6/8; NBC, 2.4/7; Fox, 2.4/7; Univision, 1.6/5; CW, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.4 million; ABC, 11.8 million; Fox, 7.4 million; NBC, 5.0 million; Univision, 3.9 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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