The good news for NBC is that the “This Is Us” finale delivered the show’s biggest audience and 18-49 rating, with a big ol’ pile of 12.84 million viewers and a 3.4 rating in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen’s final national numbers. While the show had been chugging along in a nicely steady fashion, the finale was a big pop over previous weeks and the season average of a 2.6 and 9.67 million, as well vaulting over the previous demo high of a 3.0 in January.
The slightly less good news is that mockumentary series “Trial & Error” lost a massive chunk of that lead-in. The first half-hour of the two-episode series premiere drew a 1.4 demo rating and 5.92 million viewers, but the second dipped further still, to a 1.0 and 4.58 million. “The Voice” led into the “This Is Us” finale with a 2.5 in the demo and 11.71 million viewers.
In the same time slot as “This Is Us” and on NBCUniversal-owned MSNBC, Rachel Maddow rocketed to first place in the cable news world and saw a 56% increase over her total audience average from the previous week, thanks to Maddow’s on-air reveal of two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns. About 1.4 million of her audience of 4.13 million viewers fell within the cable news-coveted 25-54 demographic, and this installment of “The Rachel Maddow Show” actually ended up drawing the third biggest number of viewers on TV Tuesday night. It was also Maddow’s biggest audience (total and demo) ever. Maddow had teased the reveal on Twitter a couple hours before showtime.
Elsewhere on the broadcast channel guide:
CBS’ “NCIS” dipped in the demo to a 1.5 rating but still brought in 14.16 million viewers on the whole (and a 1.9 rating in CBS’ target demo of 25-54). “NCIS: New Orleans” followed with a two-hour installment that notched a 1.2 in the 18-49 demo and 10.43 million viewers.
ABC’s comedy block performed roughly similar to last week. “The Middle” drew a 1.6 in the 18-49 demo and 5.92 million viewers on the whole. “American Housewife” garnered a 1.4 demo rating and 4.9 million viewers. “Fresh Off the Boat” brought in a 1.1 and 3.37 million viewers, followed by “The Real O’Neals” with a 0.8 and 2.67 million viewers. “People Icons” drew a 0.6 demo rating and 2.66 million viewers.
Fox’s “New Girl” was new, with a 0.8 in the 18-49 demo and 1.79 million viewers. A “The Mick” repeat led into a new “Bones” that drew a 0.7 in the demo and 2.52 million viewers.
Over on The CW, a new “The Flash” came in with a 0.9 in the demo and 2.39 million viewers. “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” drew a 0.5 and 1.34 million viewers.
As a reminder, daily ratings fluctuations tend to amount to mere quantum foam, and many of these series will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days is counted. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings guarantees networks make advertisers.