TV Ratings: ‘American Idol’ goes out strong as FOX wins season-closing Wednesday

Fast National ratings for Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

A rough season for “American Idol” ended on a high note for FOX as the finale for the singing competition drew the show's biggest audience in months and, for the first time in many weeks, beat “Survivor,” as the network closed the 2013-14 season with Wednesday wins in all measures.

Sure, it was the lowest-rating “American Idol” finale ever, but it still must have relieved FOX to see that “Idol” was capable of ticking back over 10 million viewers and above a 2.5 in the key demo. It was also, percentage-wise, a much larger finale bump than any of the spring's other competition shows.

[Note, of course, that “Idol” ran six-ish minutes into the 10 p.m. hour, so these won't be the averages for the full “Idol” block, but since the results were read pretty promptly at 10, there's unlikely to be a big change. Of course, “Idol” and “Survivor” were neck-and-neck in the key demo, so it's entirely possible that “Survivor” might inch back ahead in Finals. Or not!]

There were other notables on Wednesday with “Modern Family” also getting a big bump for its wedding-centric finale, though the “Mixology”finale and “Motive” premiere were less impressive. NBC's “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” finale got a small finale, though the “Chicago PD” closer was pretty flat. And, without “Arrow” as a lead-in, The CW's “The 100” was down in all measures.

On to the numbers…

Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 2.6 rating for Wednesday night, topping CBS' 2.4 rating in the key demographic. ABC's 1.8 key demo rating was third, followed by the 1.4 key demo rating for NBC. The CW averaged a 0.4 rating for Wednesday in the key demo.

Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 10.14 million viewers and a 6.1 rating/10 share for Wednesday night, followed by CBS' 8.89 million viewers and 5.3/9. ABC was third with a 4.0/7 and 6.24 million viewers, with NBC's 3.7/6 and 5.57 million viewers close behind. The CW averaged 1.11 million viewers and a 0.8/1 for the night.

8 p.m. – The first hour of the “Survivor: Cagayan” finale actually had CBS in first for the 8 p.m. hour with 9.33 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49, edging out the 9.27 million viewers and 2.3 key demo rating for “American Idol” on FOX. ABC's “The Middle” finale got a bump and averaged 7.53 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating for an hour-long episode. The series finale of “Revolution” averaged 4.205 million viewers and a 1.1 key demo rating, beating the 801,000 viewers and 0.2 key demo rating for a repeat of “The 100” on The CW.

9 p.m. – “American Idol” took a big jump in its second hour with 11.02 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. The second hour of the “Survivor: Cagayan” finale averaged 9.68 million viewers and a 2.6 key demo rating for second. ABC followed with the “Modern Family” finale (10.23 million and a night-winning 3.6 key demo) and the series finale for “Mixology” (4.01 million viewers and a 1.3 key demo rating). On NBC, the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” finale averaged 6.27 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating, while The CW's “The 100” averaged 1.42 million viewers and a 0.5 key demo rating.

10 p.m. – The “Survivor” reunion episode (also featuring the season's results) averaged 7.65 million viewers and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49, topping the 6.22 million viewers and 1.6 key demo rating for NBC's “Chicago PD.” ABC's “Motive” premiere drew 4.06 million viewers and had a 0.9 key demo rating.

[UPDATE: “Survivor” got a slight uptick to close its two-hour non-reunion block with a 2.6 rating among adults 18-49, tying with “American Idol.” “Modern Family” and “The Middle” both ticked up 0.1 in the key demo.]

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.