“ER” goes out strong


The series finale of “ER” gave NBC a rare Thursday ratings win and delivered the highest 18-49 rating for a drama series finale on broadcast television in nearly seven years. NBC said it was also the biggest overall audience for any drama series finale in 13 years, according to “fast affiliate-based” viewing figures (live plus same day) from Nielsen Media Research.

Here are the numbers: Thursday (4/2) from 9-11 p.m. ET, the series finale of “ER” (6.0 rating, 16 share in adults 18-49, 16.2 million viewers overall) scored the highest 18-49 rating for a drama series finale since “The X-Files” wrapped with a 6.3 on May 19, 2002. In total viewers, “ER,” with an average 16.2 million viewers, assembled the biggest overall audience for a drama series finale since “Murder, She Wrote” concluded with 16.5 million on May 19, 1996.

“ER,” which made its original series début on NBC on Thursday, Sept. 22, 1994, following a two-hour movie on Monday, Sept., 19, 1994, concluded its 15th and final season with last week’s telecast.

“ER” sewed up NBC’s highest 18-49 and total-viewer results in this time period with entertainment programming since May 18, 2006, the night of the “Will & Grace” finale. This is the highest-rated episode of “ER” among adults 18-49 since October 12, 2006 and in total viewers since May 18, 2006. Versus “ER’s” season-to-date average for original episodes, last night’s telecast was up 88 percent in both adults 18-49 and total viewers (6.0 vs. 3.2 and 16.2 million vs. 8.6 million, “live plus same day’).

NBC’s average 14.3 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. marks the network’s best Thursday primetime performance in total viewers, excluding sports, since May 18, 2006 (the night of the “Will & Grace” finale). The network’s 5.2 average among adults 18-49 from 8-11 p.m. matches the network’s best non-sports primetime performance since that same date.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for Thursday night are: NBC, 5.2/14; CBS, 3.3/9; Fox, 2.9/8; CW, 1.6/4; and ABC, 1.4/4. In overall total viewers, April 2 preliminary results are: NBC, 14.3 million; CBS, 12.0 million; Fox, 8.0 million; ABC 4.5 million; CW, 3.5 million.