The best of the best “Survivor” players have produced some of the best ratings for the CBS reality juggernaut in a couple of years.
Finale of “Survivor: All-Stars,” combined with a postgame reunion show that performed equally as well, if not better in some categories, helped CBS crush the competish on the second Sunday of the May sweep.
Reliable preliminary Nielsen nationals were a bit murky due to unusual running lengths, but the finale of “Survivor: All-Stars” (8-10:13 p.m.) dominated action Sunday with a projected 10.0 rating/25 share in adults 18-49 and 25.3 million viewers overall.
This would put it ahead of the last three editions of “Survivor” to stand as the strongest finale numbers since “Survivor: Marquesas” in May 2002.
Reunion show (10:13-11 p.m.), anchored again by series host Jeff Probst, racked up a hefty 10.4/26 in adults 18-49 and 23.5 million viewers overall, according to projected Nielsens.
For its three hours of “Survivor” coverage Sunday, CBS averaged a prelim 10.1 rating in adults 18-49 — up 17% from the finale of “Survivor: Amazon” last May (8.6).
Marriage & money
It was certainly a good night for the final two “All-Star” contestants, as 28-year-old Rob Mariano of Boston proposed marriage to 26-year-old Amber Brkich of Beaver, Pa., moments before the live vote-count was revealed. She said yes and then a few moments later won the contest by a 4-to-3 vote, bagging the $1 million prize.
If “Survivor” resembled “The Bachelor” on Sunday night, it will look and feel like “American Idol” on Thursday. During a special hourlong spec, CBS will shell out an extra $1 million to a second All-Star winner, this one the player who receives the most fan-favorite votes from viewers.
The “twist,” heavily hyped Sunday, was revealed during the closing moments of the reunion show.
Elsewhere on Sunday, ABC generated solid but unspectacular numbers for the network preem of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (prelim 3.8/10 in 18-49, 11.1 million).
But both Fox and NBC were stymied by the competish, as their respective hits “The Simpsons” (prelim 2.9/9 in 18-49, 6.2 million) and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (prelim 3.4/8 in 18-49, 11.3 million) were easily at firstrun season lows. “Simpsons,” in fact, likely will come in with all-time low scores for an original episode.