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TV Column
Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 05/17/2013

‘American Idol’ finale fumbles third of last year’s crowd


Candice Glover, left, and runner-up Kree Harrison await results to be read by host Ryan Seacrest at the "American Idol" finale. (Matt Sayles - MATT SAYLES/INVISION/AP)
Bye-bye “American Idol” judges: Thursday night’s finale clocked an average of 14.3 million viewers — an all-time low for the Fox franchise.

Last year’s finale copped 34 percent more viewers — 21.5 million — and last year’s results were nothing to rave about, compared to seasons past.

Despite all the format tweaks, and a virtually all-new judge panel that came ready-made with diva drama — Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson — “Idol’s” finale took a 44 percent nosedive among 18-to-49 year old viewers, and that age bracket counts because it’s the currency of Fox ad sales.

Controlling the damage, Fox notes this year’s “Idol” finale aired a full week later than last season, and on a Wednesday, and against less finale competition than usual. And, whose fault is that?

Fox notes that, despite the crash, it still won the night.

Judge Randy Jackson has already tweeted that he’s out next year, and betting money is on the divas getting shown the door; Mariah Carey’s husband Nick Cannon hinted she’s not coming back, in a recent interview on “The Talk.”

 In fairness, “Idol” isn’t the only franchise that got clobbered Thursday night.

ABC’s“Grey’s Anatomy’s” season finale was down 27 percent year to year in the age bracket.

(ABC, however, chose to focus on the positive:  “Scandal” delivered the show’s most watched telecast ever — 9.1 million viewers which – and tied its series high in the age bracket.)

 CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” was flat compared to last year’s finale. “Elementary’s 2-hour finale was up 5 percent compared to previous week’s one-hour episode (freshman series so no year to year comparison).

 CW’s “Vampire Diaries” finale was down 17 percent compared to last year’s finale, while “Beauty and the Beast” finale tied a series low.

 And then there’s NBC, which ran “The Office” finale from 9-10:15 p.m., and its who-should-we-have-for-dinner drama “Hannibal from 10:15-11 p.m. — so it’s early numbers are a fright. Best we can do right now is say that 60 of “The Office’s” 75 minutes clocked a 2.9 rating in the age bracket, and appears to have edged out “Idol” among 18-34 year old guys, but not chicks in their head-to-head hour.

Stay tuned....

By  |  12:14 PM ET, 05/17/2013

 
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