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‘X Factor’ Rises With Finale, Still Rates Well Below Last Year

Fox's music contest down more than 50% from the conclusion of its first season in 2011

A rough season for “The X Factor” finished on an uptick Thursday, though the Fox music contest came in well below its conclusion of a year ago.

On a night when it faced mostly repeat competition, the third-season finale of “The X Factor” averaged a 1.7 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., according to Nielsen. It was the 18-49 leader with its final two half-hours Thursday, and Fox edged out its rivals to win the night in the demo.

While Thursday’s “X Factor” finale was up from the series’ penultimate, hourlong results show of last week (1.2) as well as Wednesday’s performance finale (1.3), it was down a steep 45% in the demo from last year (3.1) and 36% in total viewers (from 9.7 million). And last night’s finale delivered less than half of what the show wrapped with in its inaugural season of 2011 (3.8 in 18-49, 12.6 million total viewers).

“X factor” finishes fall in the 18-49 rankings behind fellow unscripted broadcast series “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Amazing Race,” “Shark Tank” and “The Biggest Loser.”  A year ago, it lagged only “The Voice.”

Series creator Simon Cowell confirmed Wednesday that Demi Lovato would not be returning next season to “The X Factor,” which has yet to be picked up by Fox. Lovato is the sixth judge to exit the series during its three-season run, joining Britney Spears, L.A. Reid, Cheryl Cole, Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul.

Elsewhere Thursday, CBS won in total viewers and claimed the night’s No. 1 program with a repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall), which doubled up “X Factor” head-to-head. It was followed by encores of “The Millers” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), “The Crazy Ones” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), “Two and a Half Men” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and “Elementary” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall).

NBC’s “The Sing-Off” slipped to a 1.2/4 in 18-49 and 4.4 million viewers overall, down a tick from last Thursday’s episode and the show’s lowest-rated telecast this month. From 9 to 11 p.m., the net got good mileage out of a repeat of its “SNL Christmas” clips special (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall).

At ABC, a rebroadcast of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) was followed by the ABC News year-in-review special “20/20: The Year” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall). The former beat “X Factor” head-to-head in 18-49, while the latter was up 6% in total viewers from last year’s edition.

CW aired repeats of Thursday regulars “The Vampire Diaries” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall) and “Reign” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 1.7/5; ABC, CBS and NBC, 1.5/5; Univision, 1.1/3; Telemundo, 0.6/2; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 6.9 million; Fox, 6.2 million; ABC, 5.9 million; NBC, 4.4 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Telemundo, 1.4 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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