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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Andy Rooney crowd inches toward 17 million for final regular ‘60 Minutes’ commentary

Early Nielsen stats show about 17.4 million people tuned in for Andy Rooney’s swan song as weekly commentator on CBS Sunday newsmag ”60 Minutes.”

But those numbers do not account for the approximately 20-minute football overrun CBS enjoyed Sunday night, so we’ll have to wait for more accurate numbers later today or tomorrow morning.

In an unusually non-crotchety final commentary, Rooney told viewers, “Not many people in this world are as lucky as I’ve been.”

“I’ve done a lot of complaining here, but I can’t complain about my life,” the 92-year-old commentator added.

Last week, CBS announced that after more than three decades on air, Rooney would make his last regular appearance at the end of the hour-long newsmag. He has been featured on the program since 1978.

Best guesstimate for now: About 16 million-ish saw Rooney’s “farewell” address, in which he told people that if they see him in a restaurant, now that he’s semi-retired, leave him alone and “let me eat my dinner.” That would still be a hefty ratings hike compared to one week earlier when the season debut of “60 Minute” 12.3 million fans.

By  |  12:03 PM ET, 10/03/2011

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