'American Idol' finale watched by 23 million viewers
The season finale of American Idol averaged 23.2 million total viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers. The audience for the live telecast, which crowned Lee DeWyze while also bidding a fond farewell to judge Simon Cowell, grew steadily over the two hours: At 8 p.m., 18.4 million were watching; at 8:30 p.m., 21.1 million; at 9 p.m., 24.3 million; and in the last half hour, 28.8 million. Still, even with Fox’s “time-zone adjusted” overnights from Nielsen — which raise the evening’s average to 24.2 million viewers — it’s the lowest-rated Idol finale since Kelly Clarkson took the first title in 2002.
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