Wednesday’s finale of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” garnered the show’s highest rating in more than 17 years, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen.
“Oprah Winfrey” drew a 13.3 household rating in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover 70% of U.S. TV households. The 13.3, which included same-day reruns of the telecast in New York and other markets, marked the largest aud for Winfrey’s syndie daytime yakker since its Feb. 21, 1994, seg titled “People Shed Their Disguises,” which grabbed a 13.4 household rating in the overnight markets.
The turnout for Wednesday’s closer was up 129% from the 5.8 household rating that the show has averaged this season in the overnights.
More detailed national ratings for the finale seg won’t be available for at least a week. The finale is also sure to get a big lift from DVR viewing over the next week.
The overnight market numbers for “Oprah Winfrey” do not include St. Louis, where the finale was preempted by coverage of storms that have devastated the region. The seg was expected to run there on Thursday. St. Louis ranks as the nation’s 21st largest TV market.
In the metered markets, the finale logged its highest household score in Columbus, Ohio, with a 17.8 rating/37 share, followed by West Palm Beach, Fla. (17.5/36), Atlanta (16.1/35), Norfolk, Va. (15.7/32) and Detroit (15.4/30). Of the top five markets, Winfrey scored highest in Philadelphia (13.6/34), followed by her home base of Chicago (13.4/38), New York (12.2/33), Los Angeles (11.1/28) and Dallas (9.4/22).
Not surprisingly, “Oprah Winfrey” viewership has been high this week as she prepped for her final bow. Monday’s episode, “Surprise Farewell, Part 1,” featuring a parade of stars saying their goodbyes to the queen of daytime, averaged a 10.2 household rating in the overnights. Tuesday’s conclusion of the seg drew a 10.7.