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Ratings: CBS’ ‘The Good Wife’ Exits With Largest Audience Since 2014

The Good Wife” was always more of a prestige play than ratings grabber during its seven seasons on CBS, but its series finale on Sunday stood as the evening’s most-watched program and led its timeslot among broadcast networks in key demos.

The Mother’s Day holiday brought its typical decline in television usage, with Nielsen reporting the percentage of adults 18-49 watching during any average minute of primetime Sunday (7-11 p.m.) was 27.8, down 6.1% from last week (29.6). The falloff was largest among women 25-54 (33.9% watching), down 8.1% week to week (from 36.9)

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Good Wife” averaged a 1.2 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour — up week to week by 20% in the demo (from 1.0) and by about 1.3 million total viewers (from 9.19 million). This was the program’s top demo score since January (1.4 on the night of a highly rated NFL overrun for the network) and its largest overall audience since 10.72 million watched the Nov. 9, 2014 episode. “Good Wife” last topped the 10-million viewer mark in January 2015.

“Good Wife” won the 9 p.m. hour among the broadcasters in 18-49 as well as 25-54 (1.9/5) and total viewers. It built on its lead-in from “Madam Secretary” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall).

Written by series creators Robert and Michelle King, the “Good Wife” finale featured few tidy endings, but provided fans with closure to the seven-season rollercoaster ride of Alicia Florrick. The Kings’ new drama, “Brain Dead,” premieres next month on CBS.

Elsewhere Sunday, there wasn’t a lot of movement, though ABC saw both “The Family” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and “Quantico” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) lose a tenth one week from their finales. Earlier, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.2/5 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) was also a tick lower, but “Once Upon a Time” was steady (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall).

At NBC, the premiere of “Dateline: On Assignment” didn’t do much at 7 p.m. (0.5/2 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall). The new series, which features multiple reports on a variety of subjects ala “60 Minutes,” easily lost outright to the newsmagazine granddaddy (1.0/4 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall). It was followed by a special recap episode of “Little Big Shots” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) as NBC sought to extend the hit rookie another week into the May sweep; it tied as the night’s top-rated broadcast in 18-49.

Following “Little Big Shots,” which was down 0.4 from its final first-run original episode of last week, comedies “The Carmichael Show” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) and “Crowded” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) were both down a tick. At 10 p.m., though, a regular “Dateline” installment did a 1.0/4 in 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers overall to lead the broadcasters for the hour in both 18-49 and 25-54 (1.4/4).

And after a week off, Fox ran oriignals of its 8-10 p.m. comedy block: “The Simpsons” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall), “Bob’s Burgers” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and “The Last Man on Earth” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall). Compared to the last time it was a first-run (April 17), top gun “Family Guy” was down a tenth, though last night its 1.3 was good enough to (at least in the prelims) tie “Little Big Shots” and edge out both “The Good Wife” and “Once Upon a Time” as Sunday’s top broadcast in 18-49.


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