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'The Office' ratings surge for series finale

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The Office Finale

UPDATED: Thursday night had eight broadcast season finales.

But the one most people are talking about is NBC’s The Office, even if only because the episode brought the comedy series to a close.

Since The Office finale aired for 75 minutes, these early numbers are approximate (Nielsen’s first-round numbers only measure in half-hour blocks). But even with the final 15 minutes omitted, The Office clearly surged: At least 5.4 million viewers tuned in and the show delivered a minimum of a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49. That’s easily a season high for the show; its best performance in 16 months (the season premiere was a 2.1 rating, to give you some idea of the context of this number).

Over on Fox, American Idol finished the season like you might expect: Down, down, down.

Idol had 14.3 million viewers and a 3.6 rating, according to Nielsen’s final overnight numbers. That’s off a steep 44 percent from last year. This is by far the lowest rated Idol finale ever — the previous finale low was last year’s 6.4. Compare both those numbers to the Idol finale two years ago, which scored a 9.2 rating.

Fox points out that last week’s finale ended on a Wednesday against weaker competition — and again, the show is 12 years old — but there’s no doubt the competition series has endured a beating this year.

ABC’s breakout hit Scandal ended the season matching its all-time high in the demo (3.2) and hitting a new series high among total viewers (9.1 million). Not only that, but Scandal was up 39 percent from last year’s finale in the demo. While Grey’s Anatomy (3.0 in demo) was down 27 percent from last year’s finale. If it wasn’t perfectly clear before it sure is now: Scandal is ABC’s new soap king.

CBS’ Big Bang Theory (4.4) hit a season low for its finale, though was steady with last year. The reason for this week’s dip isn’t tough to figure out — too many other shows with big finales that seemed more urgent. CBS’ two-hour Elementary finale (2.0) was up 5 percent from last week’s one-hour episode, yet ended its season on a modest note.

On The CW, The Vampire Diaries finale (1.0) was down 17 percent from last year’s hour, while Beauty & the Beast (0.5) was flat with last week and tied its low.

More to come, refresh for latest….

Full Chart:

FOX 8-10P AMERICAN IDOL #2 3.2 14,300
ABC 8-9P WIPEOUT- #10t 1.0 3,815
9-10P GREY ANATOMY #5 3.0 8,633
10-11P SCANDAL #3t 3.2 9,134
CBS 8:00P BIG BANG #1 4.4 14,776
8:30P BIG BANG RS #3t 3.2 11,636
9-11P ELEMENTARY #8t 2.0 8,926
NBC 8-9P OFFCE SPECIAL S #8t 2.0 4,372
9-10P OFFICE #6 2.9 5,412
10:00P OFFICE/HANNIBAL #7 2.3 4,574
10:30P HANNIBAL #10t 1.0 2,471
CW 8-9P VAMPIRE DIARIES #10t 1.0 2,198
9-10P BEAUTY&BEAST #13 0.5 1,335