The ladies of “Victoria’s Secret” provided stiff competition, but FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” ended its run on Tuesday night with series-high ratings — and perhaps the largest-ever audience for a telecast on the network.
FX holds off releasing ratings highlights to the press until after three days’ worth of DVR playback can be included, but according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” numbers, “Sons” averaged a series-best 3.3 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 (about 4.22 million in this age group) and 6.39 million viewers overall.
This is especially impressive considering that the finale’s lengthy runtime meant it didn’t end until nearly midnight. Also, it went head-to-head in the 10 o’clock hour with Tuesday’s No. 1 broadcast show in the demo, the highly rated annual CBS special “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall).
The previous same-night highs for “Sons of Anarchy” came with its most recent season premiere in September (3.2/10, 6.2 million viewers overall). That episode went on to become FX’s No. 1-rated single telecast in history in “live plus 7” (5.1 in 18-49, 9.81 million total viewers).
“Sons” was a modest ratings performer when it premiered in 2008 but steadily grew throughout its run. Its “live +7” audience has tripled from season one (2.6 million) to season seven (7.8 million prior to last night).
And in 2014, “Sons” ranks second only to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” among all basic cable dramas in adults 18-49.