LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Despite “The Oprah Winfrey Show” scoring its highest audience in 17 years with the show’s much-anticipated finale, “American Idol” stayed on top of the ratings with its finale Wednesday night.
Oprah’s final episode garnered a preliminary 13.3 household rating in the nation’s metered markets, the Nielsen Co. reported Thursday. But an actual viewer count won’t be available from Nielsen for two weeks.
The show earned its highest number since February 1994. That’s when an “Oprah” episode called “People Shed Their Disguises” got a 13.4 rating.
“American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery and Fox must both be smiling over the show’s conclusion. The nation’s most popular television show was seen by an estimated 29.3 million people, up 21 percent from last year’s show, Nielsen reported.
“Idol” also won bragging rights over “Dancing with the Stars.” The ABC competition had 21.4 million viewers for its finale Tuesday.
“American Idol” started the season with worries that the departure of Simon Cowell might siphon away fans. But ratings actually rose with the addition of judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler — leading to the big finish with McCreery’s win.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)