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‘Idol’ finale draws 36 million

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

The Fox phenomenon “American Idol” drew roughly 36 million viewers for its two-hour finale Wednesday night, a sizable jump over last year and the second most-watched “Idol” conclusion to date, behind the 2003 wrap.

Based on projections from preliminary national data from Nielsen, “Idol” is expected to come in with a 14 rating/35 share in adults 18-49 and 36 million viewers overall — gains of double-digit percentages compared with last year’s finale (12.5/31 in 18-49, 30.3 million viewers overall). In total viewers, only the Super Bowl (90.8 million), Academy Awards (38.9 million) and post-Super Bowl episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” (37.8 million) have rated higher.

In its final half-hour, “Idol” hit a 40 share in adults 18-49 and 43 million viewers overall.

Elsewhere, ABC held up pretty well with the two-hour finale of “Lost” (7.5/17 in 18-49, 17.6 million viewers overall), which was down slightly from last year’s first-season finale. “Lost” grew to an 8.1/20 in the demo and about 20 million viewers overall in the 10:30 half-hour.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 13.8/35; ABC, 6.0/15; CBS, 1.9/5; NBC, 1.9/5; UPN, 0.7/2; WB, 0.6/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 35.4 million; ABC, 14.5 million; CBS, 6.6 million; NBC, 6.4 million; UPN, 1.7 million; WB, 1.6 million.

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