ER Series Finale Ratings

Last night, the series finale of “ER” delivered the highest 18-49 rating for a drama series finale on the broadcast networks in nearly seven years and the biggest overall audience for any drama series finale in 13 years, according to “fast affiliate-based” “live plus same day” viewing figures from Nielsen Media Research.

Last night 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 dbut 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 night’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’).

“ER” took charge of the two-hour time period, dominating in adults 18-49, total viewers and other key ratings categories. In adults 18-49, “ER” generated a 94 percent margin of victory (6.0 vs. 3.1 for CBS’s dramas in second place, pending updates). In the 10-11 p.m. hour, “ER” beat the ABC-CBS drama competition combined in all key ratings categories adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Last night from 8-9 p.m. ET, the special “ER Retrospective” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) delivered NBC’s best non-sports 18-49 rating in the time period since January 3, 2008 and biggest non-sports total viewership in the slot since March 27, 2008. The retrospective ranked #2 in the hour in adults 18-49 and #1 in adults 18-34, women 18-34, women 18-49 and women 25-54.

NBC’s average 14.3 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. last night 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.

Note that all national ratings are “live plus same day” unless otherwise indicated.